Siskinds values and encourages equity, diversity and inclusivity in our firm and in our community. We understand that actualizing these values is a journey, one we are approaching with the understanding that we have much to learn. We aspire to foster an environment that is increasingly welcoming and inclusive, that recognizes and values differences.
We have worked hard to make sure our offices accessible to the public and to our employees to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential.
Our People and Our Workplace
Siskinds believes that our people are our biggest asset. We have taken meaningful steps to provide a safe and inclusive work environment. We believe that these steps are necessary to enable our lawyers and staff to feel welcome and excel in their careers. We strive for continuous improvement and are always looking at ways to enhance employee engagement.
Languages We Speak
Our diversity is reflected in the languages spoken by our lawyers and staff. For a listing of the languages spoken at our firm, please review our page, Languages Spoken.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
We understand that EDI is a journey. Siskinds is committed to advancing EDI and decreasing barriers. To date, the measures implemented or underway include the design of accessible premises, a plan to anonymize resumes received in student recruitment, unconscious bias and anti-racism training, the development of an indigenous reconciliation action plan, and developing a comprehensive firm-wide EDI plan.
These measures are steps on our journey. To further our commitment, we are seeking out innovative and industry leading practices, and continuing to listen to the members of our firm and the wider community to identify ways we can contribute to a more equitable and inclusive profession and community.
Our Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee is comprised of partners, associates, business team leaders, and support staff. Our committee is dedicated to developing and supporting EDI initiatives, building a culture of inclusion, and organizing community involvement.
The current members of our committee are listed below.
Simone Chetcuti, Senior Law Clerk
Sana Ebrahimi, Associate
Rasha El-Tawil, Partner, Co-Chair
Linda Pratt, Director of Human Resources
Michael Robb, Partner, Co-Chair
Linda Sanders, Director of Marketing
Christopher Sinal, Partner
Anna Szczurko, Partner
Hybrid Work Plan
Recognizing the changes in work habits and business needs that have become evident during the pandemic, and that lawyers and staff have many commitments outside the workplace, Siskinds has implemented a six-month pilot hybrid work plan. Under this plan, most lawyers and staff can work remotely up to 50% of the time. We believe that this work plan strikes an appropriate balance between respecting the needs and wants of our people and the need to position Siskinds for long-term success. In our view, Siskinds’ long-term success requires a meaningful opportunity to mentor, foster relationships, and be together as a team.
Every other year, Siskinds conducts an employee engagement survey. The surveys assess the level of engagement that our lawyers and staff are experiencing within their roles at the firm. These surveys probe firm members’ experience with all aspects of the firm, with the intention of providinge the board of directors with insight into our strengths and areas that should be improved.
Siskinds has implemented new programs and initiatives based on the survey results. Examples include management training for firm leaders, a reward program where outstanding contributions are rewarded immediately, improved processes to enable lawyers and staff to work more efficiently, and a wellness program..
Our next survey will be conducted in 2022, and will also explore demographic and EDI-related issues. Our hope and expectation is that the survey results will assist us in building on our EDI program in a manner that best suits the needs and wants of our lawyers and staff.
In early 2022, Siskinds will implement an anonymous reporting process where employees can submit anonymous feedback without fear of reprisal. This will help inform our management as we continue striving towards a more inclusive and accommodating workplace.
Our New Office Space
Siskinds’ head office in London recently moved to a larger space. We used this move as an opportunity to enhance our employee experience. The space was designed to support a more inclusive and collaborative work environment and enhance the collaborative working experience of everyone at Siskinds.
- 32 meeting rooms and meeting areas of varying sizes, most of which incorporate advanced technology solutions to facilitate virtual meetings and hearings;
- a large, open plaza area on the top floor with diner-style booths, multiple eating areas, and a large breakfast counter;
- private rooms on each office floor that can be used for personal wellness, such as for prayer, meditation, nursing, pumping, or simply a space for some personal privacy;
- accommodations and fixtures in conference rooms accommodating to the needs of brain-injured clients;
- an open meeting room adjacent to our reception desk for situations where an employee might not be comfortable meeting with clients alone;
- technologically-advanced trial rooms to enable us to effectively run remote virtual trials;
- gender inclusive washrooms for our employees.
The plaza area on the top floor of the building has been designed to create an especially warm and welcoming place for employees to meet, eat, socialize, or collaborate as a team. In addition to the main plaza area, each of the four corners has large windows and plants, creating a greenhouse feel. These spaces are available for staff to relax. No lawyers have their offices on the top floor. The top floor office space has been reserved for support staff, including our accounting and office services teams.
Siskinds is committed to providing excellent, accessible client service to everyone, including people with disabilities. This commitment means that we strive to provide our legal services to people with disabilities in a manner that respects their dignity and independence. See our page, Accessibility, for more information.
Reducing Barriers in Student Hiring
Student recruitment is key to Siskinds’ long-term success. Our students are the future of the firm. We hire law students with the hope and expectation that they will become associates and then partners. It is therefore important that we recruit a group of highly skilled and diverse students.
We recognize that there is always room for improvement and have implemented a number of measures to ensure that we continue to develop a strong and diverse workforce.
We have adopted the practice of anonymizing student applications to remove candidates’ names from all documents. All other information submitted by candidates remain and are considered. This selection system helps our screeners and interviewers evaluate students on their skills and qualifications while reducing the influence of unconscious biases.
Unconscious Bias Training
Our application screeners and interviewers complete training on unconscious bias. This training will be repeated on a regular basis and is being made available to the whole firm.
Surveying Past Students
The interview process can be stressful and exhausting. We have taken steps to improve that experience for interviewees. Specifically, we surveyed our articling students from the past five years seeking their input on what would make the interview process less stressful and are implementing those suggestions in our recruitment process.
Supporting our Community
Siskinds has a long history of involvement in community endeavours, including the provision of volunteer time and financial support. Siskinds’ lawyers and employees are encouraged to be activity involved in our communities, promote social responsibility, and enhance access to justice for individuals in our community. Please view the pages In Our Community and Social Responsibility to read about our community involvement.