When Marianne Smith interviewed with Blake, Cassels & Graydon for an articling position in 2003, it never occurred to her to ask about the storied law firm’s stance on diversity. Coming out as a lesbian was even lower on her list of priorities.
Today, the corporate lawyer and partner in the firm’s Toronto offices has a Pride flag on her desk. She’s involved in Blakes’ employee resource group on behalf of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) staff members. When she interviews law students interested in joining the firm, “almost everyone I speak with asks about diversity, regardless of their personal circumstances. And when we recruit young [LGBTQ] lawyers, they are, by and large, out in the recruiting process.”