Equity & Access

Our Equity & Access Role

One of our regulatory objectives call us to promote diversity, inclusion, substantive equality, and freedom from discrimination in the delivery of legal services and the justice system.  

We are obligated to:  

  • create a legal profession that reflects the public it serves;  
  • eliminate racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination from the delivery of legal services; and  
  • collaborate with other system partners to make the administration of justice more efficient, equitable, and affordable.  

These obligations live in our work and inform everything we do.  

Through our programming and our decision-making, we work to increase the diversity of the Nova Scotia bar, support lawyers as they seek to be more equitable in their practice and to learn from community voices when they come to us with concerns. 

This work originates from and continues to be motivated by, the recommendations from the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr. Prosecution.

Equity & Access Resources

We provide resources, tools and training to support lawyers and law firms as they develop an equity strategy in the workplace.  The Society’s practice resource search will help you find websites, articles, webinars, podcasts, videos and more to support you in your legal practice. The Equity and Cultural Competence category includes resources focused on 2SLGBTQIA+ and gender issues, anti-racism, trauma-informed lawyering, restorative approaches, implicit biases, African Nova Scotian issues, TRC resources and more.

Current Equity & Access Initiatives

The Society’s Equity & Access initiatives seek to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in the delivery of legal services in Nova Scotia.  

Equity in Operations and Governance

We work to ensure that the Society’s operations and governance meets the standard set for the profession on equity, diversity and inclusion. We are focused on: 

  • responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; 
  • developing our capacity to use an equity lens in our decision making; and 
  • conducting internal training on contemporary and historic equity issues.  

Diversity and Cultural Competence of the Nova Scotia Bar

We work to ensure that Nova Scotia’s lawyers are culturally competent, trauma-informed and broadly reflective of Nova Scotia’s diverse populations. We are focused on: 

  • providing articled clerks and practicing lawyers with cultural competence instruction; 
  • supporting lawyers and law students with practice advice, resources and opportunities for mentorship; and 
  • celebrating and reflecting on progress through events honouring our profession’s diversity, such as our annual pride reception and the Racial Equity Committee’s reception honouring racialized and Indigenous articled clerks. 

Access to legal services by Nova Scotia’s equity-seeking populations 

We work with system and community partners to identify and mitigate systemic barriers to access. We focus on: 

  • inviting community voices directly to our decision-making tables through the Society’s Council in the Community initiative; and 
  • facilitating lawyer training in underserved areas of law by hosting workshops provided by community groups in our classroom.  

Our Committees: Racial Equity & Gender Equity

The Racial Equity Committee and Gender Equity Committee support Council’s governance and advance Council’s strategic framework by monitoring and advising on programs and policies that address issues of discrimination in the legal profession and in the administration of justice.  

These committees develop policy and program options that promote equity and diversity in the legal profession in Nova Scotia and assist the Society’s Equity & Access team to raise awareness of equity and access issues. 

Looking for Equity & Access Resources?

Questions about the Society’s Equity & Access work? Please contact our Equity & Access team at equity@nsbs.org.