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Osler's Legal Professional Resource Groups 

June 8, 2023

Developed by and for members of the Osler community, our Legal Professional Resource Groups are made up of lawyers, law students and paraprofessionals who, as a result of their shared experiences, backgrounds or life histories, wish to provide support to Osler colleagues in furtherance of Osler’s diversity initiatives and business development activities and to support the mission of the firm-wide Diversity Committee.

In the video below, learn about each of our five Legal Professional Resource Groups at Osler.


DARREN GILL: My name is Darren Gill and I am an associate at Osler’s Toronto office practicing in the Emerging and High Growth Companies group. I am also the associate lead for the Osler Pride Network, or OPN.

OPN is a national group committed to the recruitment, career development and advancement of LGBTQ2S+ professionals at Osler and beyond.

It is very important to me to have a resource group for LGBTQ2S+ lawyers and paraprofessionals. A group like OPN creates a space for members like me to connect with others with a similar background, share our experiences and support one another, personally and professionally.

I am particularly proud of our efforts working alongside the Student Programs to strengthen the pipeline of students joining Osler, helping to ensure that the future of the firm includes amazing queer lawyers.

I am also proud of our regular social events – both formal and informal. They are so much more than a time to re-connect with our queer colleagues; they create the foundation of our supportive OPN community here at Osler.

In addition to OPN, I am also a member of the Osler South Asian Network. Being part of both of these professional resource groups matters to me because they represent attributes that are central to my life and experience, and it is important for me to connect with others who are in a similar position.

I also have to note the intersectional nature of being part of both of these groups – there are so many people at the firm who are part of more than one LPRG, and we are constantly looking for ways to collaborate to make this an even more inclusive place to work.

Looking forward, we are partnering with local non-profit organizations to give back to the communities where we live and work.

We are also setting up some queer-focused professional development sessions and ways to educate other members of the firm on issues that queer professionals face in the workplace.

Finally, we are strengthening our efforts to help queer law students learn what it’s like to work at a law firm like Osler, such as through student-focused professional development sessions and participating in external initiatives such as the PRISME Conference, which is an annual conference for LGBTQ2S+ law students.

HANNAH KINGOM: My name is Hannah Kingdom and I am an associate at Osler’s Toronto office practicing in the Litigation group.

SYDNEY YOUNG: My name is Sydney Young. I am an associate at the Toronto office practicing in the Intellectual Property group. Hannah and I are the associate leads for Osler Women Lawyers Network, or OWLN.   

HANNAH KINGOM: Osler has a long history of women in important leadership roles and remains focused on advancing a greater percentage of women into its partnership. OWLN supports that goal by putting together social and networking events, informal mentoring and coaching, and professional and business development opportunities for women legal professionals at Osler. We feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to the firm’s work on supporting women and their advancement.

SYDNEY YOUNG: In a large firm, it’s vital to find ways to connect with other people of similar backgrounds to remind you that of course, you do belong here! OWLN provides an essential way for us to connect with each other and for more junior members to lean on the senior members for support, encouragement and insight into being a woman in this field. Through the group, women legal professionals from across the firm have the opportunity to connect, learn from one another and advocate on issues that matter to them.

HANNAH KINGOM: We have focused in recent years on ensuring OWLN representation from all of the firm’s offices, and are proud that we now have events running year-round from Vancouver to Montreal. Some of our recent events include our annual client book club event, an internal learn-to-paint event in our Vancouver office and our all-office Annual Women’s Event.

SYDNEY YOUNG: Just to give one example of our programs, our Book Club is a hugely popular event, where we provide advance copies of a selected book to women members of the Osler community, both inside and outside of the firm. In 2022, our selection was The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull, and we held a discussion at Coffee Oysters Champagne in Toronto with the author and our Book Club founder and chief organizer, Sandra Malcolm. The event is not only fun and interactive, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to network and chance to use our intellect outside of the office!

HANNAH KINGOM: OWLN’s next focus is on ensuring that we bring an intersectional approach to our events and programming. We want our members to have the opportunity for support, professional development and socializing across Osler’s other Legal Professional Resource Groups.

MAHA ANSARI: My name is Maha Ansari and I am an Associate at Osler’s Toronto office practicing in the Real Estate group. I am a co-chair for the Osler South Asian Network, or OSAN.

This group was formed in 2020 and is dedicated to the support and professional development of Osler legal professionals identifying as South Asian, Indo-Caribbean, Indo-African or from the South Asian diaspora, and their allies.

Groups like OSAN are part of a movement to make our workplaces more inclusive, where our differences are celebrated, rather than hidden. A diverse profession means that lawyers actually reflect the cultures and values of our clients, and encourages different perspectives and ideas when working to solve problems for our clients and communities.

With more than 45 active members in 2022, I’m proud to say that OSAN is growing and thriving. I want to build a community where legal professionals like me have access to every available opportunity to achieve success.

This fall, OSAN was able to host in-person socials, where members from Osler offices across Canada connected and a paint night in Toronto. We’re also co-hosting a Diwali party in Vancouver.

OSAN also recently recruited new members to its executive committees and welcomed some enthusiastic articling students to our growing team.

In the future, I hope that OSAN can continue to be a source of support and pride for the South Asian legal community, and continue paving the way toward a more inclusive legal profession.

ERIC CHOI: My name is Eric Choi and I am an associate at the Toronto office practicing in the Commercial Real Estate group.  I am also one of the associate leads for the Osler Asia-Pacific Affinity Network, or APAN for short.

APAN’s mandate is to support legal professionals with ties to the Asia Pacific region by providing professional development, support, and networking opportunities to our members.

We often think of APAN as having a couple main pillars of activities: first, creating and fostering an environment of support within Osler, across all of our offices – this includes promoting awareness regarding issues that may impact Asian legal professionals uniquely; and second, building bridges and creating networks outside of the firm.

Being a part of APAN is important to me for creating a sense of community both within the firm and outside. I’ve met some of my best friends through the group and through external events that we were a part of. One of the main goals of APAN is to help foster an inclusive and supportive environment where you can connect with people with similar backgrounds and experiences, so in that sense, APAN, together with the other Osler legal professional resource groups, play an integral role in carrying out the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

ABIGAIL OMALE: My name is Abigail Omale and I am an associate at Osler’s Vancouver office practicing in Employment and Labour.  I am also one of the associate leads for the Osler Black Lawyers’ Network, or OBLN.

OBLN was formed in 2020 to support the Black community by fostering the recruitment, retention and career advancement of Black employees at Osler and by committing to community outreach and engagement with a focus on the law and legal practice.

It is important for me to belong to and participate in OBLN. The group has provided me with a network of individuals who understand my unique journey and can help in mentoring and supporting career goals.

One of the things I think was really special this year is that all of our members, from our offices across the country, had the opportunity to meet as a group in Toronto  along with summer students and our three Avenue interns. The Avenue internship program is a new initiative for Black undergraduate students to experience what it’s like to work at a law firm, and one of the ways Osler and other Canadian firms are working to increase the pipeline of young Black lawyers entering the legal world.

My hopes and dreams for the future of OBLN is to help its membership to grow more in the firm’s regional offices. I hope to assist OBLN with putting together more local events for its regional members.