Louise Arbour, law students help homeless navigate justice system
For close to a year now, McGill law student Katherine Richardson has helped some of the city's most vulnerable navigate through the complex legal system.
“I wanted to be able to help others and the opportunity to be able to help those who need it the most is one that I wasn't able to pass up,” she said.
She's one of 35 law students from different schools who make up the Mobile Legal Clinic. Once a month they visit shelters and community organizations in the city to offer their services. All their work is overseen by professors and lawyers.
They've met with 450 people so far. About a third of their cases are related to legal debts and coming up with payments plans. They also walk them through the legal process, sometimes even going to court with them.
It's made a difference for those at the Old Brewery Mission who have used it.
“They feel this is a huge breath of fresh and something that punctually addresses one of the key issues that is causing them stress and keeping them homeless,”said Matthew Pearce, CEO of Old Brewery Mission.
Working to improve access to the justice system is a cause that is important to former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, which is why she has become the clinic's ambassador.
“The fact that they are doing this shows they have a heart, which I think for all professionals is a pretty important attribute, and that they will develop practical skills that will serve them well,” she said.