Last week, Gowlings was pleased to host a reception to honour Tawana Giscombe, one of the first law students to receive an academic scholarship from the Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) Trust Fund. The reception was held on July 15 at the firm's Toronto office.
With the goal of advancing diversity and providing equal access to the legal profession, the LLD Trust Fund offers annual scholarships to young people with disabilities who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies in law. Gowlings is a proud contributor to the fund.
"Tawana was selected to receive this scholarship as a result of her outstanding academic accomplishments and tremendous leadership in a number of student activities at Queen's," said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings chair and CEO, and member of the LLD Board of Trustees. "She has demonstrated extraordinary intelligence, resilience and determination, and has achieved remarkable success in the face of adversity."
Giscombe recently completed her second year of legal studies at the Faculty of Law at Queen's University, earning top marks in a number of courses, including jurisprudence and advanced constitutional law. She participated in the prestigious Public International Law Program at the Bader International Study Centre in Sussex, U.K., and is currently co-president of the Queen's Law Literary Society.
A member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, Giscombe is also a dedicated mentor to others. She has helped many of her law school peers navigate the challenges of student life, and serves as a prime example of how to adapt to the difficulties posed by a physical impairment in order to make an impact in the legal community.
"It's about your ability, not your disability. I tell students who come to me that having a disability doesn't define you - it's what you do with it that defines you," said Giscombe, adding that receiving the LLD Trust Fund scholarship makes her feel "safer in the profession."
Comprised of general counsel and managing partners from across the country, the Legal Leaders for Diversity are committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity at all levels in the Canadian legal community.
Diversity and inclusion are an essential part of Gowlings' culture. Guided by a firm-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, Gowlings is a proud member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, and was the first Canadian law firm to receive the Starbucks International Excellence in Diversity Award. Gowlings has also been listed among the Best Employers in Canada since 2010.
More photos from the reception are available on Gowlings' Facebook page.