The Law Foundation of Ontario expands support to public interest organizations



    TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - The Law Foundation of Ontario continues to renew
and launch initiatives that support public interest organizations. Three major
initiatives are underway:

    
    -   The Debt Repayment Assistance Program (D-RAP)
    -   The Public Interest Articling Fellowship
    -   and The Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship.
    

    D-RAP was developed as a collaborative initiative among all of the
Ontario law schools and the LFO to provide students and recent graduates with
enhanced access to legal careers in public interest law. Because of the high
debts many students accumulate during their education, many cannot afford to
pursue positions in public interest organizations which may offer lower than
average salaries. As a result of this ongoing problem, the LFO initiated the
funding of the D-RAP program and will offer students - one from each law
school across the province working for a public interest organization -
biannual payments of $5000 for three years following graduation from law
school; each graduate will receive up to $30,000 during their participation in
the program.

    The Public Interest Articling Fellowship Program - a pioneering
initiative that began in 2005 - continues and this past May, the LFO in
partnership with Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC), announced the six
organizations awarded the fellowships for the 2008-2009 term. They are:
Amnesty International Canada (Ottawa); Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
(Toronto); Canadian Civil Liberties Association (Toronto); Canadian Internet
Policy and Public Interest Clinic (Ottawa); Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
(Toronto); and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (Ottawa). The Fellowships
will enable law students to article full-time for a public interest group for
a 10-month period commencing in the summer of 2008. The hiring of the fellows
takes place this summer and each organization will carry out its own hiring
process. For more information, students are instructed to contact their law
school's Career Development Office. The LFO and PBSC extend thanks to the
Selection Committee of distinguished leaders from the judiciary and legal
profession for their assistance in selecting the fellowship recipients. This
program has also received support from the Law Society of Upper Canada and
Career Development professionals at all the Ontario law schools.

    The Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship brings leaders from public
interest organizations which interact with the justice system to Ontario
Universities, Colleges, and law schools to spend a six month period (covering
one academic term) in residence. The Fellowship may include undertaking
research, teaching courses and may focus less on traditional academic
contributions and more on mentorship, activism and leadership. Last year, the
Fellows included: Kim Pate, the Executive Director of the Canadian Association
of Elizabeth Fry Societies who taught a program at the University of Ottawa,
Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, and Kimberly Murray, Executive Director of
Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, who conducted research at Ryerson
University, School of Criminal Justice. The reaction from the community has
been very positive and the LFO will continue the Fellowships in 2007/2008.
    According to LFO Chair, Larry Banack, all three initiatives underscore
the LFO's commitment to public interest organizations. "We appreciate the fact
that many of these organizations are under-funded and require additional
assistance, and we are proud that the LFO can play an important role in
supporting these organizations," explained Banack.
    The LFO is a grant-giving organization committed to the advancement of
legal knowledge, excellence within the legal profession and community
participation in the legal system. The LFO funds programs and initiatives that
promote and enhance access to justice for all Ontarians.
    For more information on the LFO visit www.lawfoundation-on.org





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Adriana Suppa, The Law
Foundation of Ontario, (416) 598-1550 ext. 309, asuppa@lawfoundation-on.org

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The Law Foundation of Ontario

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