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Vickar gift to transform clinical space at Robson Hall

Entire experiential learning program to benefit from renovations

April 22, 2022 — 

Thanks to a generous gift from alum L. Kerry Vickar [LL.B./1980], The Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba (UM Law) will finally have a physical space to house its business clinics. Room 113 will now be known as the L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic. Vickar’s gift of $500,000 will help to transform a large former storage room in Robson Hall’s lower level into a modern, practicing clinic complete with board rooms, offices, incubator spaces, private virtual consultation booths and workspace for law students to learn the practice of law in a hands-on environment. Meanwhile, the law school’s expanded clinical learning opportunities will also benefit from the re-invented learning space.

Business Law Clinic

Operating virtually for the past two years of the pandemic, the Business Law Clinic, under the direction of practicing professional lawyer Nick Slonosky [LLB/1979] and retired faculty member, former Associate Dean (JD) Lisa Fainstein [LLB/ 1979], the clinic has provided law students with hands-on experience advising small business clients while counting as a for-credit course. Starting in the fall term, practitioner Rebecca Jaremko Bromwich will join the team as a Faculty presence for the Clinic.

“This new space is part of a transformational set of opportunities for hands-on clinical experience for our students,” said Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of Law. “The space will not only be a clinical hub but a site of discovery and collaboration as the clinical team reaches out to partners like the Stu Clarke Centre and North Forge and beyond to become the Manitoba engine room for access to innovation.”

UMCLC expansion, Indigenous, Mediation and Rights Clinics

In addition to the L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic’s ongoing operations, UM Law will be increasing the number of clinical experience opportunities next year with expanded services now available to Manitobans at the University of Manitoba Community Law Centre (UMCLC). Through an agreement with Legal Aid Manitoba, law students will be able to assist with family law, prison law and Indigenous legal services in addition to criminal law matters as before.

An Indigenous Community Legal Clinic will be for-credit starting in Fall 2022, thanks to the help of Marc Kruse [JD/2015], Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator. A Mediation Clinic course, to be guided by Professor Jennifer Schulz and Chief Justice Glenn Joyal (Court of Queen’s Bench), is slated to begin in 2023. Also, a new Rights Clinic, which is being developed and supervised by Professor Brandon Trask, will be launched later this year, with a for-credit course being offered in Fall 2022. The Rights Clinic will be a site of innovation, focusing primarily on environmental rights and civil rights work pertaining to matters of importance for vulnerable Manitobans.

Launch of Robust Clinical Team

To facilitate the expansion of its clinical programs, UM Law has proposed a position of Director of Clinics to coordinate the increasing number of clinics, experiential learning opportunities, moots, competitions, articling integration and development of clinical and experiential programing while helping to administer the work of a newly formed clinical team.

The clinical team is comprised of faculty members Associate Professor David Ireland (clinical professor; clinical coordinator), Assistant Professor Brandon Trask (clinical professor), Senior Instructor Elizabeth McCandless (clinical instructor), and Senior Instructor Dr. Rebecca Jaremko Bromwich (clinical instructor), along with staff members Marc Kruse (Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator) and Trina McFadyen (Director of Professional Development).

Ireland possesses years of experience representing clients in all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He teaches Criminal Law, Evidence and Trial Advocacy at Robson Hall while maintaining a practice at the law firm of Cochrane Saxberg, specializing in public law with an emphasis on criminal litigation and appeals. Ireland has experience both prosecuting and defending criminal charges as well as proficiency in public inquiries, inquests and human rights litigation.

Trask is a practicing lawyer focusing on public law who worked as a Crown prosecutor in Newfoundland and Labrador and later in Nova Scotia, most recently with the Appeals and Special Prosecutions Section of the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service. While practicing as a Crown prosecutor, Trask was involved with hundreds of cases across two levels of court in Newfoundland and Labrador and three levels of court in Nova Scotia. He also regularly appeared on behalf of the Crown at the Criminal Code Review Board in Nova Scotia. He is an Assistant Professor at Robson Hall teaching Constitutional Law and Evidence this year, and will additionally be teaching Criminal Law, Mental Health and Criminal Law, and the Rights Clinic courses next year.

McCandless and Jaremko Bromwich are both seasoned lawyers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the clinical program at UM Law. McCandless most recently served as director and legal counsel at the Manitoba Law Reform Commission and holds an LL.M. from UM Law. Jaremko Bromwich practices law at Gowling WLG Canada where she has acted as the firm’s national manager of equity, diversity and inclusion. She holds a Ph.D. from Carleton University’s Department of Law and Legal Studies.

Kruse returned to his alma mater of Robson Hall after practicing criminal law at Rees Dyck Rogala Law Offices, and engaging in research on curriculum reform. He has published work on the moral foundations of professional ethics, social justice education, and Indigenous educational ethics.

McFadyen, also an alum of Robson Hall, was an associate at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman practicing civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial litigation, employment and labour law. She was later Legal Counsel at the Great-West Life Assurance Company, practicing civil law. She has returned to the Faculty as Director of Professional Development.

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