Canadian Defence Lawyers

Canadian Civil Defence Lawyers interviews Nigerian-Canadian lawyer, Dr. Alexander Adeyinka for Black History Month

Canadian Defence Lawyers (CDL) is a voice and a resource for civil defence lawyers providing a national perspective, quality defence-specific education and networking opportunities. As part of its commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, CDL celebrated 2022 Black History Month with an interview with Toronto-based lawyer, Dr. Alexander J. Adeyinka III.

CDL: Why a career in law?
Adeyinka: I have always been fascinated by the multitude of opportunities to serve in various exciting legal capacities and roles in the ever-changing legal systems, nationally and internationally. Increased segmentation in the legal profession has created opportunities for legal specialization in almost every area of the law.

CDL: What or who has influenced you and your career?
Adeyinka: I have been blessed to work with great people, lawyers and non-lawyers, who in various ways helped my professional development and career growth. I would also mention my professors at the University of Toronto Law School who encouraged and supervised my PHD program in what at the time was a very specialized and relatively novel area of the Law.


CDL: What are some obstacles or challenges in your current practice?
Adeyinka: I would not say that I have any career obstacles or challenges at this point in my career. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us professionally and personally. It has created a physical disconnect between lawyer and client and among lawyer colleagues. This is a shared challenge that will likely affect individual professional and career growth in the nearest future.

CDL: How has the legal profession changed since you started practicing?
Adeyinka: I think some of the key changes in the legal profession since I commenced practicing would include globalization, technology and diversity. There was no Internet/WorldWideWeb (as we know it today anyways) when I was called to the bar and no mobile phones! And globalization has spawned almost boundless opportunities for specialization and geo-flexibility in terms of practicing. More recently, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is also changing the profession fundamentally. When I was called to the bar, very few Black students got a chance to article in a decent firm, fewer still got hired back. Many had to resort to “bread and butter” practices that had little or nothing to do with their preferred area of specialization. Thankfully, that has changed over the last few years.

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CDL: What was your career-defining moment? How did it shape, change or reinforce your practice?
Adeyinka: The resilience to complete my PHD degree in Law while still in my 20’s would always remain person-defining and career-defining for me. Everything after has been icing on that cake.


CDL: The law is notorious for being slow to adapt and evolve, how do you hope the practice and the profession will change or evolve in future years?
Adeyinka: It has taken decades for the profession to move from lip-service and tokenism and fully embrace and practicalize Diversity and Inclusion. I hope this commitment continues in earnest. I hope that all legal professional bodies truly take EDI seriously. I hope that the various bars truly take EDI seriously. And I hope that every private and public organization that practices law in one form or another truly take EDI seriously.

CDL: What does diversity and inclusion for Canadian defence lawyers look like to you?
Adeyinka: I do not think Diversity and Inclusion should look different by practice area. Summarily, every organization that engages legal professionals must have measurable and measured policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of legal professionals, of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations.

Canadian Defence Lawyers is committed to targeted community involvement, promotion of D&I ideals, and expanded awareness of the importance of D&I initiatives. The mandate of CDL’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee is to ensure a culture of diversity and inclusion is supported and encouraged throughout CDL programming and public submissions. For more about CDL please visit their website.

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