"Now was the perfect time to do this," Slonosky says. We realized that many small businesses, arts organizations, and start-ups were in dire straits due to the pandemic. They probably need assistance. Many of them likely can't afford legal services. We said, okay folks, if you are in this category, we're happy to talk to you." It also has been a valuable learning experience for the students.
Alexandra Philippot, a third-year law student, says she was "very excited" to hear about the clinic. It will allow her to use the skills and knowledge she gained in law school and help clients improve their lives.
Named for its benefactor, alumnus L. Kerry Vickar, the clinic has, since 2014, offered numerous University of Manitoba law students the chance to get hands-on, practical experience in business law.
Slonosky says students learn skills including client, risk, and transaction management, entity choice and formation, drafting techniques, legal research, regulatory compliance, good governance, stakeholder activism, and social responsibility. Slonosky explains that the clinic's purpose is to expose students and professionals to practical aspects of commercial and corporate law.
Lisa Fainstein was the associate dean of law faculty at the school for eight years until she retired. She says she is returning for special projects. As she had some curriculum planning experience, Fainstein was asked to help design the revamped business law clinic course. While the school has operated criminal and family law clinics for many years, those interested in business law typically were attached to law firms, where students could shadow and gain practical experience.