Ryerson’s Law Research Centre offers free legal advice

Pictured from left to right: Kate Culver, David Reynolds and Rahul Sharma, lawyers from Miller Thomson. (Courtesy Ryerson online)

Pictured from left to right: Kate Culver, David Reynolds and Rahul Sharma, lawyers from Miller Thomson. (Courtesy Ryerson online)

The Ryerson Law Research Centre has been providing students with free legal advice for four years, but now its monthly events are gaining traction.

Organized by student volunteers, the centre holds a free legal clinic once a month for students to attend.

“It takes some time to increase awareness, said Pnina Alon-Shenker, who works with the Law Research Centre.

“There are times when we had three to five students, but we’re getting there. For Feb. 13, we’re already almost fully booked. We have 13 people confirmed.”

According to Alon-Shenker, the majority of students who take advantage of the clinics are entrepreneurs looking for information on best practices for their startups.

In collaboration with Miller Thomson Lawyers and Pro Bono Law Ontario, the centre offers students assistance with legal problems from issues with cellphone companies to small business advice.

The clinic can support up to 16 students within the three-hour period. Students sit down with a lawyer from Miller Thomson for 45 minutes to discuss their situation.

The company is working with Ryerson to try to create more opportunities for students to receive legal aid.

Jennifer Babe, a partner at Miller Thomson and the chair of the firm’s pro bono committee, works closely with the university.

From small business questions to intellectual property and personal issues, a group of around 20 lawyers dedicate time to helping Ryerson students.

“We try the best we can to get them some help,” said Babe, “and let them spend their time being a student as opposed to worry about (legal issues).”

The next legal clinic will be held on Feb. 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 5, 2014.

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