April 27, 2021
"My Experience" Project: Weekly Submissions
Each week, we will feature experiences in our eBulletins collected through the “My Experience” Project. We encourage you to read each experience in its entirety, so it is viewed the way the participant intended. To read more experiences, complete self-reflection questions or submit your own experience, visit the Law Society Listens website.
"I have been a member of the Bar of Alberta since 1996. My experience in the practice of law in the province of Alberta has been unpleasant, most of the time.

In law school, I had to endure the racism of students and professors, whose assumption was
that I was not qualified to be there, simply on the basis of my ethnicity. I did gain admission into
law school as an Indigenous student, however, I received no special considerations or
assistance once I began my law studies. Even if I did gain admission without applying as an
Indigenous student, as some Indigenous students have, the assumption was, that I did gain admission that way, and was treated as though I did not belong there, and wouldn’t last. But I successfully completed my studies, with no supports or assistance because of my ancestry.
I also believe that were I not Indigenous, I may have been judged differently, treated differently,
regarded differently, and graded differently. And by differently I mean better. I saw my fellow
students being treated with much more regard, even though they were not any more intelligent
than me..." 

"...In one case, I had an assistant who told me several times that I couldn’t “tell her what to do”. She told me this from the first day I started working with her. She did my work when she felt like it and would then complain that I had harassed her to get work done or gave it to her at the last minute, when it was assigned weeks or even months before.

I looked in a file and copied and pasted an email from a White male lawyer, the senior associate
with whom we both worked at the time. It was instructions to draft a document in point form. It
started with “could you please do x, y and z” and ended with “Thank you”. As I had the same
document to draft on my file, I sent this email to the same assistant.

Two weeks later, HR told me she came to them in tears and complained that my email was not
clear and was rude. Despite admitting that they did not see anything rude about my email, HR
told me that I had to show more empathy and be more concerned about her feelings. I forwarded
the email the White senior associate had sent this assistant and asked if she had reported him to HR too for the same email? Not surprisingly, there was no complaint to HR about the same email sent by the White senior lawyer to the same assistant..." 

Indigenous Cultural Competency Education Access Information Distributed 
All active and inactive Alberta lawyers were sent an email on April 21 with instructions on how to access the Indigenous Cultural Competency Education called The Path (Law Society of Alberta) — Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada. Both the How-To Guide and the FAQ can also be accessed on our website. There are detailed steps provided to register and enrol in The Path (Law Society of Alberta), as well as how to complete the course and certify for an exemption, for those who qualify. 

For those who are not Alberta lawyers but would like to take The Path (Law Society of Alberta), the Law Society has negotiated preferred pricing and group rates for non-lawyer members of law firms, organizations, government, educational institutions and the judiciary. Please contact NVision directly for details at thepath@nvisiongroup.ca.

We encourage you to review the information available on our website that may provide answers to common inquiries.

If you have other questions, reach out to Customer Service at the Law Society. Technical questions about navigating The Path website should be directed to technicalhelp@nvisionthepath.ca.
Provincial Court Announcement

In response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the province, the Provincial Court of Alberta is implementing updated Court measures detailed in this document.
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