Flip Your Wig

February 2016

Issue link: http://digital.canadianlawyermag.com/i/642579

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THE 2016 FLIP YOUR WIG FOR JUSTICE CAMPAIGN Nikki Gershbain, National Director, Pro Bono Students Canada Wendy Komiotis, Executive Director, METRAC: Action on Violence Jessica Reekie, Executive Director, Ontario Justice Education Network Welcome to this second edition of the annual Flip Your Wig for Justice Magazine. In this issue, we profile some of the people, organizations and firms that are making meaningful contributions to access to justice (A2J). Our hope is that by illustrating the many diverse and important ways members of our profession are championing A2J, we might inspire others to join this movement for change. e Flip Your Wig brand plays on the image of the traditional barrister's wig – that powdered, itchy relic of another era – and the idea that lawyers are 'flipping their wigs' in frustration over the state of access to justice in Canada. is playful campaign draws attention to the issues, without downplaying the many hurdles that exist to creating a fair and equitable legal system. Historically, the barrister's wig symbolized the privilege associated with practising law. Being a lawyer continues to be a great privilege, one that we believe comes with obligations – obligations to ensure access to justice, particularly for the most vulnerable among us. But lawyers are not the only ones who have answered this call. roughout the pages of this magazine, you will read about some of the extraordinary work that people both within and outside the profession are doing to respond to the accessible justice deficit. Chief Justice McLachlin has said that Canada is "increasingly failing in our responsibility to provide a justice system that [is] accessible, responsive and citizen-focused." In recent years, task forces have been struck, reports have been written, and the profession – which has tended to function in silos – has begun to pull together to take action. ese pages feature inspiring stories about lawyers helping low-income tenants preserve their housing, preparing wills for people who are HIV positive, and expanding community food security centres across Canada. We profile an academic looking at the root causes and effects of the rapid growth in self-represented litigants, a young lawyer who designed an innovative soware app that informs people of their legal rights during encounters with police, Mental Health Court Support Workers who help clients navigate their court appearances, and a founding member of a community-based labour law clinic. ese are just a few of the many inspiring stories we have compiled from the ranks of our campaign partners and nominations from the community. e Flip Your Wig for Justice Campaign first launched in 2013, and we are now in our third year of raising awareness about access to justice and funds in support of five organizations that provide legal information and assistance to vulnerable Canadians: e Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA); Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO); METRAC: Action on Violence; e Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) and Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC). is year, our goal is to reach and engage even more lawyers with our message, and raise $80,000 in support of our programs. 2 FLIP YOUR WIG

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