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Shulman & Partners lends support to Family Justice Centre

Thursday, September 16, 2021 @ 9:23 AM | By John Chunn

Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) welcomed Shulman & Partners LLP as a champion partner of its innovative Family Justice Centre (FJC). The firm’s commitment of $100,000 will enable the FJC to reach even more families across Ontario.

According to a press release, the FJC is a first-of-its kind initiative that brings together law students and pro bono lawyers to offer free legal services to low-income self-represented family law litigants. The FJC launched in the fall of 2020 and began running virtual legal clinics in February 2021. During the first eight months of the program, the FJC facilitated 85 summary legal advice meetings and assisted in the drafting of more than 60 court forms.

“Supporting and promoting access to justice initiatives is incredibly important to the team at Shulman & Partners,” managing partner, Ron Shulman, a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, said in the press release. “We are thrilled to be joining the FJC as a champion partner, and for this unique opportunity to support low-income families throughout Ontario.”

The FJC aims to bridge the substantial and long-standing barriers faced by low-income Ontarians accessing the family justice system. Through public legal education resources and virtual legal clinics, private bar lawyers and upper-year law students provide unbundled legal services (i.e. summary advice, document preparation, legal coaching, etc.) to individuals who are unable to afford a lawyer. With growing support from the family law bench and bar, the program is quickly becoming a fixture in the access to justice landscape.

“This generous gift will provide vital assistance to family law litigants while at the same time offering invaluable learning opportunities for law students. I am delighted that Mr. Shulman, an Osgoode alum, and his firm are supporting such an important and innovative program,” said Mary Condon, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and member of PBSC’s Advisory Board.

The FJC also benefits from support from founding partner, Epstein Cole LLP, and program partner, Legal Aid Ontario. In 2020, the FJC hired law students from eight law schools across Ontario. The program relies on the in-kind support of private bar lawyers and welcomes participation from family lawyers from across Ontario.

“We are grateful to Shulman & Partners LLP for their leadership and support of this important program,” said Brittany Twiss, national director of PBSC. “This contribution will help us meet the growing demand for the FJC’s services, and we are heartened by the firm’s commitment to advancing PBSC’s mission in this significant and tangible way.”