Gowling WLG honours Legal Leaders for Diversity Trust Fund scholarship recipients

09 August 2016

Last night in Toronto, Gowling WLG hosted a reception in honour of Julie Harmgardt and Julia Munk, two law students who have received 2016 Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) Trust Fund academic scholarships.

Scott Jolliffe, Julie Harmgardt,
Julia Munk, Daniel Desjardins

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. Gowling WLG is a proud contributor to the fund.

“Julia and Julie are remarkable young women who have overcome significant challenges during the course of their legal studies,” said Scott Jolliffe, past chair and CEO of Gowling WLG Canada and member of the LLD Board of Trustees. “Both have shown exemplary leadership, resilience and courage in pursuing their legal careers, and we’re tremendously proud to support their ongoing success through the LLD Trust Fund scholarships.”

Julie Harmgardt is a recent Queen’s Law JD graduate and founder of InvisAbilities, an organization aimed at raising awareness and supporting inclusion of young adults living with chronic, hidden disabilities. As a result of her strong advocacy and organizational skills, Harmgardt has transformed the initiative from a university student club to a registered Canadian charity. She is now working to add a chapter that will serve young professionals working in downtown Toronto.

In recognition of her work, Harmgardt was the first student recipient of the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award. The accolade recognizes the efforts of Queen’s students, faculty and staff who display innovation and compassion in creating learning and work environments that allow persons with disabilities to enjoy full participation.

Julia Munk recently completed her final year of the JD program at Osgoode Hall. On top of studying and excelling in a wide range of legal subjects, she was enrolled in the school’s Disability Law Intensive program. As part of this clinical program, Munk participated in a placement at ARCH Disability Law Centre, a specialty legal aid clinic dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of Ontarians with disabilities.

Through her placement at ARCH, Munk demonstrated her commitment to social justice by engaging in critical client advocacy, disability-related law reform and policy initiative work. She will return to ARCH as an articling student in 2017.

“The LLD scholarship acknowledges the essential role that diversity plays in creating a sense of empowerment within traditionally vulnerable communities,” said Munk. “It will help me complete my legal education, enhance my ability to serve as an advocate for people with disabilities, and increase the disability community’s access to justice.”

The Legal Leaders for Diversity is an organization comprised of general counsel and firm managing partners from across Canada. It is committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity at all levels of the legal community.

Diversity and inclusion are an integral part of Gowling WLG’s culture. Guided by a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the firm 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. Gowling WLG has also been listed among the Best Employers in Canada since 2010.