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Documentary

But I Look Like a Lawyer: Call for Stories from the BC Pan-Asian Legal Community

What: The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) is creating a mini-documentary on the discrimination, stereotyping and bias experienced by members of the Pan-Asian legal community, from law students to senior members of the bar. 

We need your contributions: We are asking you to share your stories, incidents you have witnessed, or both. Brief or lengthy. Personal or anonymous.

Examples of stories that have already been submitted or shared from senior, established lawyers to law students include:

  • Being mistaken for another racialized lawyer;

  • During hearings and meetings, being asked where the (real) lawyer is;

  • Fully suited, and being mistaken for an assistant, translator, or the accused in the courtroom;

  • Attending recruitment or networking events where you’re often overlooked due to:
- Not playing the “usual sports” like golf, rugby or hockey;
- One’s background (family, socioeconomic background).
  • Being excluded from firm after-work social events as the (only) racialized member;

  • Being asked to speak “proper” English, or receiving repeated comments about how “good” one’s English is;

  • Being called racial slurs;

  • Being asked whether they belong in the barrister’s lounge;

  • Being told one is there only because they are a “diversity hire”; 

  • Being questioned repeatedly by courthouse security despite regularly attending in court.

We encourage you to share any and all of your stor(ies), even if they are “only” a sentence or two, and including stories that may intersect with your experiences as a concurrent member of another equity-seeking group (e.g. women, LGBTQ/2S, people with disabilities). We encourage you to share stories that may mirror the above examples. 

Why: 

  • Our aim is to increase intercultural awareness and competency within the profession, while providing a platform for the Pan-Asian Legal Community to share their experiences. 

  • We also wish to highlight and bring renewed attention to the original But I Was Wearing a Suit documentary (“BIWWAS”), spearheaded by a group of leaders in the Indigenous legal community, including Ardith Walkem, QC, who has generously provided guidance for our initiative. We believe that this companion documentary will identify commonalities, and highlight the unique and distinct experiences of bias and discrimination that Pan-Asian lawyers face in practice. 

  • We hope to continue the dialogue. Our goal is to strive for change and to recognize and eliminate unconscious biases and discrimination within the legal community. 

How to participate: Send your stories to documentary@faclbc.ca. You may indicate that you would like your story to be anonymized in the documentary. Please note that the story must have taken place in B.C. 

Due to the changing circumstances with the pandemic, we have not yet determined whether we will be filming participants and stand-in readers for any anonymized stories, or whether these may be recorded by participants on their own (i.e. via webcam or iPhone/mobile). Participants will be updated regularly. 

Submission Deadline: Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Questions? Please send any and all questions to documentary@faclbc.ca 


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