In 2021, diversity-inclusion strategies must be ‘action-oriented’ and ‘authentic’: Nikki Gershbain

posted on January 13, 2021

January 5, 2021

By , Law Times

In 2021, with near consensus on the bottom-line benefit to diversity and inclusion, rather than continuing to merely argue in its favour, law firms must take genuine action to cultivate belonging and enhance the acquisition and retention of underrepresented groups, says Nikki Gershbain, chief inclusion officer at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

In October, McCarthy’s Inclusion Now won the Bereskin & Parr Award for Diversity Initiative of the Year at the inaugural Canadian Law Awards. Nominations are now open for next year’s awards. Open to all Canada-based law firms and legal departments, the nominees will be judged on the concrete steps they took to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Though there remain some outliers in the legal field, Gershbain says there is near universal recognition of D&I’s “unimpeachable business case:” Diverse teams perform better, inclusion enhances a workplace’s profitability and diversity is increasingly a client demand.

“At this point, for this work, I think we don’t really need to continue to make the business case. It’s very, very simple,” she says.
“All of the research points in this direction. So as a result of that, increasingly, I do think there is a consensus that we need to move away from continuing to build the case, to now activating it.”

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