TRU Law hosts panel of equity ‘rockstars’

Panellists spoke on equity, diversity, inclusion as well as advice on how to be professionals within a given field

On March 6, the Equity Rockstar Panel took place in the House of Learning, with a full audience. The event was presented by the TRU Law Equity Committee, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL), as well as by the students of the law department.

Many law students came for the event to hear about the professional experiences of the panellists. Panel speakers included Steven Ngo, Adrienne Smith, Hisako Takahasi, Kim Carter, and Jessica Vliegenthart.

Each of the keynote speakers talked about their experiences, challenges on the way of their career, as well as gave recommendations for upcoming graduates from the TRU Law Department. Adrienne Smith shared a story of becoming a professional from the perspective of a transgender.   

Ruby Dhand, the facilitator, asked the first question, “What are some of the barriers that you experienced as a professional and what are some of the recommendations to address these issues.”

The keynote speakers responded differently, Jessica Vliegenthart noticed that not all law offices are accessible for wheelchair employees, which made it difficult for her to come for the job interviews at the beginning of her career.

Adrienne Smith struggled a lot at the beginning of her career when people didn’t know what pronoun to use to introduce a transgender person in court proceedings. Adrienne also noticed that she started her law education when she was 35-years-old.

Hisako Takahasi said that she didn’t have many barriers, but she advised new graduates that when applying for any job in the law field the most useful thing to do is face-to-face meetings rather than simply submitting resumes online.

Another question was addressed by the second facilitator, Sam Singer, who asked, how law professionals should organize their lives to create the life-work balance.

Kim Carter noticed that she used her approach to creating her own set of values and priorities. Adrienne Smith said that the best way to make it all work without extra stress and anxiety is to find hobbies and focus on them.

Hisako Takahasi said that the best way that worked and works for her is to incorporate into her everyday work routine things that she likes to do. For her, it is going to the gym often. “Just do things you’re passionate about,” addressed Hisako Takahasi.

During the event, law students had a chance to ask questions to panel speakers, and they were able to get to know some useful tips for their further career paths in the field of law.