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Partnerships for Impact – McCarthy Tétrault & Level Working Together to Level Justice

Partnerships for Impact – McCarthy Tétrault & Level Working Together to Level Justice

We know Black and Indigenous communities are highly underrepresented in the legal profession, and overrepresented in the justice system. To address this pressing gap, Level & McCarthy Tétrault have partnered to expand two vital Level programs – The Indigenous Youth Outreach Program (IYOP) & The Black Youth Justice Program (BYJP).

As Level’s new Premier Partner, McCarthy Tétrault will help scale both programs, which provide Indigenous and Black youth with innovative justice education that promotes positive interactions with the legal sector, builds confidence in academic achievement, advances reconciliation, and celebrates diverse legal systems and identity.

A key component of this partnership is to increase access to justice for Indigenous and Black communities in Canada. The programs offer a two-way knowledge exchange between McCarthy Tétrault lawyers and youth participants. McCarthy Tétrault lawyers offer the students insight about the justice system, while relationship building with the students, and training throughout the program, also enhances volunteer lawyer cultural humility.

Since Level’s inception in 2005, 15,000 youth, law students, and lawyers have been connected, and exposed to justice education and cultural humility training. Together, we will deepen this impact. From 2022-2023, McCarthy Tétrault commits $30,000 to elevate these programs and inch closer to leveling justice.

View McT Level Partnership photo with credits

“Our Firm is working diligently to build a profession that reflects the diversity of our communities through our Inclusion Now program,” said Charlene Theodore, Chief Inclusion Officer at McCarthy Tétrault and a key stakeholder in the McCarthy Tétrault-Level partnership “Engaging youth early on is key to our success in this area. Through exposure to the legal profession, and capacity building, Level supports and uplifts Black and Indigenous youth at  a critical time in their lives. I know this work, and our partnership will help in achieving our goal of building a truly inclusive and diverse profession”.

“With McCarthy Tétrault’s support as a Premier Partner, the Level Team will continue to expand IYOP and BYJP across Canada and involve community members in the development and delivery of these programs.,” said Shelan Markus, Executive Director, Level. “In the long term, this support helps the program’s goals to combat the overrepresentation of Indigenous & Black youth in the justice system, and to cultivate a more inclusive, diverse, and empathetic legal profession. We are grateful to McCarthy Tétrault for their commitment to support a more equitable justice system.”

About McCarthy Tétrault

McCarthy Tétrault LLP provides a broad range of legal services, providing strategic and industry-focused advice and solutions for Canadian and international interests. The firm has substantial presence in Canada’s major commercial centres as well as in New York City and London.

Built on an integrated approach to the practice of law and delivery of innovative client services, the firm brings its legal talent, industry insight and practice experience to help clients achieve the results that are important to them.

McCarthy Tétrault has an innovative and ambitious plan to accelerate its vision to be the firm of choice for clients and talent. The firm’s program, Inclusion Now, is dedicated to diversity, inclusion and corporate social responsibility. Inclusion Now is not only a key Firm priority, it’s an investment—in people, clients, and communities – to create an inclusive workplace and an inclusive society. Read more on this ground-breaking program:

About Level

Level is a Canadian justice education charity with a mission to level the barriers to justice by disrupting prejudice, building empathy, and advancing human rights. The organization provides youth, law students, and lawyers with the resources & community to build equitable access to our justice system through programs focused on innovative justice education, social justice awareness, legal mentorship, and training. Level envisions a justice system that treats everyone with dignity and an informed society where everyone can thrive.

About The Indigenous Youth Outreach Program (IYOP):

IYOP launched in 2012 in Toronto with 25 students and 10 volunteers. Today, Level delivers the program to over 650 youth with over 200 volunteers, in 25 locations across Canada, including:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon

IYOP uniquely benefits Indigenous youth by giving them access to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous mentors and role models in legal and business communities. The program breaks down barriers to justice and equips students with skills and knowledge about their rights and opportunities in the legal profession. The program also benefits Indigenous and non-Indigenous volunteers by improving their competency in Indigenous ways of knowing and Indigenous law.

About The Black Youth Justice Program (BYJP):

The BYJP focuses on producing culturally-relevant justice education programming targeted towards Black youth aged 11-18 in Canada. BYJP runs 12 to 14 one-hour justice education sessions, delivered across Canada, and administers justice-based activities, which include mock trials, sentencing circles, and field trips to increase students’ knowledge and understanding of the Canadian justice system as well as to reimagine a new justice system that serves the diverse needs of Canadians

Black youth can partake in legal education, mentorship, leadership development, critical thinking skills, and socialization through the BYJP curriculum. The program is delivered through Black facilitators and volunteers from the justice sector who work closely with students to lead them through the program sessions in an engaging way. Black youth get to experience justice-based activities such as mock trials, field trips, and sentencing circles, in an effort to increase the students’ knowledge and understanding of the Canadian justice system