Our diversity makes us better
We understand the powerful impact that diversity has on innovation and culture. Smart & Biggar embraces diversity and inclusion because it makes us a better firm for our team members and for our clients. We are committed to creating and maintaining an open, inclusive, and flexible culture that allows all of our team members to reach their full potential.
An IP firm that reflects our world
As Canada’s leading IP law firm, our team reflects the diverse and multicultural nature of our country and the clients we advise and support. We are committed to providing our clients with unparalleled expertise in IP law and unparalleled diversity of knowledge, experience, and perspective.
Diversity and inclusion in action
Smart & Biggar is dedicated to cultivating diversity and inclusion through our leadership, policies, processes, programs and resources to meet the evolving needs of our most important asset – our people.
At Smart & Biggar, we celebrate and support diversity as a fundamental value of our firm. We also recognize that a diverse and inclusive culture is a key ingredient to the ability of all of our employees to thrive within our work environment and to offer the best and most innovative services to our clients. Daphne Lainson, Chair of the Firm
We are proud of the initiatives that we have implemented as we strive towards our goal of being an inclusive and diverse organization:
- Diversity Leadership – Committed to championing our diversity goals our dedicated Diversity & Inclusion Team, led by partner and Chief Inclusion Officer, Jonas Gifford, is a highly engaged group with members from offices across Canada, and at all levels of the firm.
Guided by a clear Vision Statement and Diversity Policy, the team has implemented a number of successful initiatives, including cultural celebrations, awareness campaigns and Pride activities held across the country. The team meets regularly to
explore and plan new programs and activities that support all aspects of a diverse and inclusive environment.
- Systems to Support and Measure Diversity – Under the leadership of our Chief Talent Officer we are building a best-in-class talent experience with diversity and inclusion at the forefront and embedded into all areas of our firm. This
has included initiatives like unconscious bias training relating to hiring and management practices and the launch of a Diversity Census Survey to create a baseline for ongoing tracking of our demographic data on the dimensions of diversity within
- Celebrating Women in Technology/Intellectual Property – Smart & Biggar is involved with a number of industry programs to celebrate and support women in IP including our Women’s Reception at the International Trademark
Association (INTA) annual conference, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Women Network across Canada and the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada’s (IPIC) Women in IP Networking groups. We also engaged in actively
sponsoring and participating in the ACI Women in Law conference, and the ChIPs Conference for Women in IP and Next Gen summits.
- Educating our Firm about Accessibility – Smart & Biggar strives to provide a barrier-free environment for our team members, clients, vendors, potential applicants and any visitors who may enter our premises or use our services.
We believe that awareness is key to maintaining a safe and open work environment and as a result, have implemented mandatory eLearning about accessibility for persons with disabilities and issue regular internal communications on accessibility
issues and best practices.
- Smart & Biggar is Part of the Inclusion Community in Canada – Our firm is a proud member of the Law Firm Diversity & Inclusion Network (LFDIN). As active participants of this network, we meet with other Canadian firms to discuss topics of mutual concern and interest and provide support for diversity and inclusion programs in member firms. We have also received training through participation in a variety of educational programs as part of the LFDIN as well as seminars including 2018 HRD Diversity & Inclusion Masterclass, and the 2018 Thomson Reuters Women’s Transformative Leadership Forum.
Women in leadership
Smart & Biggar has actively promoted women and we are proud to have female partners represented in each of our major practice areas (patents, trademarks, industrial design and life sciences) and business services teams and in each of our offices.
Our female senior leaders in the firm include Daphne Lainson, firm Chairperson; and Christine Genge, a member of our firm’s Executive Committee and co-lead of our personnel activities. Christine is also a member of the AIPLA Women in IP, Retention & Advancement Sub-Committee. Several of our industry and practice groups are led and co-led by female partners, including Marketing & Advertising (Alice Tseng), Regulatory (Nancy Pei and Alice Tseng), Life Sciences (Daphne Lainson), Pharma Litigation (Yoon Kang).
We are proud that our Toronto-based Partner, Nancy Pei, is recognized as one of the top thirty life sciences attorneys in the world in the 2019 edition of Expert Guides: Best of the Best; and has been annually listed since 2015 in Euromoney's Expert Guides: Women in Business Law as one of the leading Life Sciences practitioners in the world
Recognized for excellence in diversity and inclusion
While we don’t do it for the awards, it is nice to be recognized for our dedication to diversity and for the talents of our team members. These honours allow us to reflect on what works and what to continue striving for.
EuroMoney Women in Business Awards:
- ‘Best national firm for diversity' in North America (2019)
- Two partners named in the Top 250 Women in Business Law (2019)
Canada’s Top 100 Employers:
- National Capital Region’s Top Employer (2018, 2019)
- National Small Medium Enterprise Top Employer (2018, 2019)