News & Events
Poverty law as threatened as the poor by Ontario austerity measures
Legal clinics, the seemingly silent side of Legal Aid Ontario, may be home to many idealistic, justice seeking lawyers, but they are still part of the government funded, and very official, legal system, subject to the same bean counting instincts of administrators everywhere. Like so many other public services, they have grown bit-by-bit, region-by-region, until every geographic corner of Ontario has been covered, each clinic a unique entity. Perhaps grown complacent after years of steady funding, the clinics seem somewhat shocked that bean counters at head office are less impressed with their noble attributes than in the past and looking for radical change in how they conduct their business now.
When Legal Aid Ontario surprised everybody in the clinic system by releasing its latest discussion paper broadly and publicly last month, there was real alarm at some of the proposals put forward. The legal clinic's Association of Community Legal Clinics Ontario invited the province to provide input as part of its ongoing strategic planning process, but wasn't expecting the conversation to become quite so public. Association Executive Director Lenny Abramowicz has been working hard to correct what seems to members like misinformation contained in LAO's report. In an interview with Kendyl Sebesta for an article appeared May 14, 2012 in Law Times magazine, Mr. Abramowicz outlined the clinics' objections, starting with the fact that the report gave short shrift to clinic accomplishments and progress at improving services.