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Breaking barriers: supporting the next generation of Black lawyers

February 23, 2024 | Diversity, equity and inclusion

On February 17, six future Black law professionals received scholarships at the BMO-sponsored 33rd Annual Black Law Students’ Association of Canada (BLSA Canada) National Conference and Gala in downtown Toronto. 

The conference, held during Black History Month, is a flagship event for the Black legal community, attended by more than 500 law and pre-law students, legal professionals, academics, and community advocates. This year’s conference theme, “As We Rise, We Lift,” emphasizes the importance of community support and collective advancement.

Renowned civil rights activist and scholar Dr. Angela Davis delivered an inspirational keynote address at the BLSA Canada gala. 

BMO’s sponsorship of the BLSA Canada conference demonstrates our commitment to fostering an inclusive legal community in alignment with our purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in Business and Life.

Six law students were awarded $2,500 scholarships: 

  • “Raising the Bar” scholarships, helping offset the costs of the lawyer licensing process: Sara Ali, Lincoln Law (3L); Michee Kisembo, UOttawa Law – Civil (3L); and Anne-Clara Sanon, McGill Law (3L) 
  • “Community Leader” scholarships, recognizing strong leadership skills and community involvement: Jennifer Demosthene, UMoncton Law (2L); Ommu-Kulsoom Abdul-Rahman, McGill Law (3L); and Perlie Kamwa, Western Law (3L) 

Black Canadians face barriers and differential outcomes within the legal profession and the justice system at large. Together, BMO and BLSA Canada are breaking down barriers and increasing representation of Black lawyers, judges, and court staff. 

Driving progress toward an inclusive society is how Team BMO achieves Zero Barriers to Inclusion.

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