Law Firms

Law Firm Known as 'Slavies' Uses the Nickname in On-Campus Ad, Then Apologizes

A Canadian law firm informally known as “Slavies” to law students, due to its reputation of working them hard, decided to have a little fun with the moniker.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg crossed out the D on its Davies logo in an on-campus recruiting ad in the student magazine for York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and inserted two seemingly handwritten letters, a capital S and a lowercase l, above copy that promised working hard at the firm would be worth the effort.

However, some were not amused by the firm’s arguable comparison of summer associates and the slave trade and an apology has been made, reports Law is Cool.

The firm said in a follow-up advertisement that it didn’t realize what it intended to be a self-deprecating joke on itself might be taken as making light of slavery, although it should have anticipated this reaction.

The ad was an unexpected stumble for a law firm considered progressive on racial issues.

In contrast to a number of other business establishments in the 1960s, at Davies Ward “it didn’t make any difference whether you were Jewish, black or polka dot, if you had talent you were welcome,” attorney Howard Beck, who was recruited by Davies Ward in that era, told the Globe and Mail in 2010, after the death of founding partner David Ward.

Hat tip: Above the Law.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.