Frank Walwyn, a senior litigation partner at WeirFoulds, discussed the need for students to strive for excellence, and how diversity can gain a competitive advantage in the legal profession as the keynote speaker at the 25th Annual National Conference of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA Canada), and in an informal presentation to Queen’s Law students respectively.
The BLSA Canada 25th Annual National Conference had the theme “Striving Towards Excellence”. Frank reiterated this during his keynote address that was covered in the article “Black law students advised to strive for excellence“, by Ron Fanfair for Sharenews.com.
“The downtown law firms stress excellence and that means doing things over and over and getting it right,” said Walwyn. “You just don’t make mistakes because the guarantee that the big firms give to clients is that they are going to get it right. Everybody does good work regardless of what firm you go to. The one standard is good work and you get to that point by working hard. You have to put in the time, roll up your sleeves and sit your bottom in a chair working”. Walwyn urged the students to engage in community service that will help develop their skills beyond their substantive practice field. “Give back to your community at large or to the legal profession,” the Ryerson University distinguished visiting professor told them. “It’s most important that you join associations as that helps to widen your life and experiences.”
Frank also addressed Queen’s Law students in an informal discussion featured in the article “Queen’s Law explores diversity as a competitive advantage“, by Trish Appleyard in the February 2016 edition of the Queen’s Law Reports Online.
“One point that speakers impressed upon students was the fact that the characteristics that made them diverse was also what made them marketable. Walwyn, for example, was able to build a stronger practice by building on his connections in his Caribbean homeland and his ability to practice law in many countries in the Eastern Caribbean. Walwyn also spoke highly of his experience with his firm, saying he had never felt his status as a black lawyer held him back, or that he felt discriminated against or treated differently by other lawyers due to his colour. Diversity, for him, has been a competitive advantage and not a hindrance.”
Frank is the Former President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), and is a member of the bars of Ontario, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada and St. Kitts & Nevis.