Starbucks Coffee Company has selected Gowlings as the recipient of its International Excellence in Diversity Award for 2012.
The award, presented by the Starbucks Law & Corporate Affairs department, recognized Gowlings for its extensive efforts to enhance diversity and promote inclusion — both within the firm and across the legal profession. Gowlings is the first Canadian firm to receive the award.
"In all categories, Gowlings consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to diversity," said Lucy Lee Helm, Starbucks Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. "In 2012, the firm's percentage of women attorneys and partners was best in class among our international law firms. Their efforts are deeply impressive and demonstrate true leadership in enhancing diversity and creating critical opportunities for diverse legal professionals."
Since 2009, Starbucks has conducted an annual diversity survey of its legal service providers around the world. The results allow Starbucks to compare the diversity efforts of law firms across a range of measures, from the diversity of the firm's lawyers to its overall support of diversity initiatives. Previous award recipients include Morrison & Foerster, Baker & McKenzie and Littler Mendelson.
"We are truly honoured to be recognized by Starbucks with this prestigious award," said Sharon Mitchell, Gowlings Chief Operating Officer. "Promoting a diverse and inclusive environment is integral to who we are as a firm. We believe that there is strength in diversity, and that having a diverse team not only creates a better workplace, but allows us to deliver the best possible service to our diverse clientele — across Canada, in the United States and around the world."
Over the years, Gowlings has supported a wide range of diversity and social responsibility initiatives. Gowlings is a founding member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, and one of the original signatories to the Justicia Project, an innovative program through the Law Society of Upper Canada aimed at retaining more women in legal private practice. The firm has since spearheaded the Justicia Project on behalf of the Law Society of Alberta and the Law Society of BC. Gowlings has also been named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada for three years in a row, and actively supports a variety of community service and pro bono initiatives.
Starbucks presented its International Excellence in Diversity Award to Gowlings at a breakfast event in Toronto. From left: Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings Chair and CEO, Susan Rosen, Gowlings partner, Michele Jenkins, Director, Managing Corporate Counsel, Starbucks Coffee Canada, Sharon Mitchell, Gowlings COO, and Stephen Pike, Gowlings Firm Managing Partner, External.