Queen’s Family Law Clinic joined four older specialty law clinics when it was opened earlier this year, and now all five have joined together in the same central location in downtown Kingston in a move designed to increase accessibility.
The official opening of the clinics, located in the newly renovated fifth floor of the LaSalle Mews at 303 Bagot St., in the heart of the downtown core, was held Thursday.
In attendance were Dean of the Faculty of Law Bill Flanagan, Principal Daniel Woolf, Provost Alan Harrison, Legal Aid Ontario Vice-President Randall Ellsworth and Law Foundation of Ontario Policy and Programs Director Tanya Lee.
“The University isn’t necessarily that accessible,” Flanagan said. “I think [the new location] is going to enhance the accessibility for clients.”
The quality of the newly renovated offices will also help in “recreating the experience of working in a law firm”, he said.
The 6,000-square-foot office space features four interview rooms, 12 offices for lawyers and staff, a meeting room that doubles as a classroom and 24 student work stations.
In his address to the crowd at the clinic’s opening, Woolf called the clinics “a truly great accomplishment both for Queen’s and for the City of Kingston”.
According to Woolf, the new location will improve services for clients and create the ideal facility for students’ experiential learning.
Woolf noted that the clinics won’t be cheap to maintain, costing roughly $1.5 million a year. Because of the $1.1 million a year from Legal Aid Ontario, $250,000 from the Law Foundation of Ontario and generous donations from the Class of Law ’81, though, only a small portion of the clinic’s finances will be covered by the Faculty of Law’s operating fees.
“It’s a tremendous service and reaches the more vulnerable population that needs help. It’s a win-win situation,” said Annie Clifford, JD ’15, a student working in the family law clinic.
Students apply as volunteers at the clinic, working under the supervision of law professors, which counts as credit towards their degree.
“If you love it, it’s really beneficial, and if you hate it, it’s really beneficial, because then you know what you don’t want to go into,” Clifford said.
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