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Unprecedented support from Law Foundation boosts critical Law Faculty programming

February 24, 2023 — 

For the first time in the history of their long-standing relationship, the Manitoba Law Foundation has granted the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law funding for both new and ongoing programs on a multi-year basis at record amounts.

By providing the province’s only law school with a generous envelope supporting the core functions of legal education, research, libraries and access to justice for a duration of two to three years, as opposed to typical single-year funding, the Law Foundation’s generosity will allow the Faculty to move significantly forward with both organizations’ mutual strategic plan items of addressing access to justice and improving service to Indigenous communities.

Established under The Legal Profession Act, C.C.S.M. c. L107, The Manitoba Law Foundation’s purpose is “to encourage and promote legal education; legal research; legal aid services; law reform; and the development and maintenance of law libraries” (Section 88).

The Faculty of Law checks all these boxes, being Manitoba’s only law school, and home to the Legal Research Institute (LRI), and a fleet of faculty members who are internationally renowned for both their legal research and teaching excellence. The University of Manitoba Community Law Clinic (UMCLC) has been training students and ensuring access to justice for the public throughout the Faculty’s fifty-year collaboration with Legal Aid Manitoba. Finally, the E.K. Williams Law Library, located on the fourth floor of Robson Hall, has supported legal education and research in Manitoba for more than 50 years.

When essential program funding is taken into account, The Manitoba Law Foundation appears on the ledger line as responsible for an incredible amount of the Faculty of Law’s operations, including the UMCLC, funding to hire sessional instructors, the LRI, the Law Library, and a new Director of Access to Justice position established to begin this April.

“Without support from the Law Foundation, the fundamentals of democracy, participation and the aspiration towards a prosperous and equitable Manitoba would be undercut. We are incredibly appreciative of their investment in the Law School, which constitutes a vote of confidence that allows us to continue on these critical pathways.” – Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of Law

“The Foundation’s funding envelope supports key legal research, education, and the fostering of legal library holdings, so essential to the credentialing of the Law School,” said Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of the Faculty of Law. “Their funding is a vote of confidence in the Law School’s autonomy and its faith in the University of Manitoba as being a capable steward of legal education, one that respects the sanctity of autonomous legal regulation and the mission of access to justice.”

“The Foundation is pleased to continue its funding of the ongoing sessional instructor program, the LRI, and the Law Library on a multi-year basis, and is excited to build on its partnership with the Faculty through the addition of the Director of Access to Justice position” said Erin Wilcott, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Additionally, the Foundation is delighted to assist the Faculty in expanding clinical opportunities for law students – while simultaneously increasing access to justice to underserved communities and populations in Manitoba – through its recent small grant funding to the UM Faculty of Law Rights Clinic.”

Jochelson emphasised that the Faculty supplies highly trained lawyers whose graduates form the main body of legal service providers in the province. “These are the people who make justice, commerce, social development and services happen,” he said. “They draft your wills, they settle your family disputes, they call authority to account, they push the envelope, and they zealously guard your liberties.”

Mandated under The Legal Profession Act C.C.S.M. c. L107, the Manitoba Law Foundation is an organization that exists to benefit Manitobans in the areas of legal education, legal research, legal aid services, law reform, and the development and maintenance of law libraries. Its funding comes from the interest payable on funds held in Manitoba lawyers’ pooled trust accounts.

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