Lawyers and students at Aird & Berlis LLP don’t spend all their time in the office! Outside of work, we are committed to involvement in our community on a local, national and international scale.
This fall, our current articling students organized the firm's participation in the annual Winter Hope Clothing Drive to benefit the Yonge Street Mission, as well as the Daily Bread Food Bank Drive. Our students, lawyers and staff also volunteer with the Law Foundation's "Lawyers Feed the Hungry" program, which has provided hot meals to Toronto's homeless and needy since 1998. According to the Law Society's website, the Program serves approximately 1,350 meals weekly and is staffed by over one hundred volunteers including lawyers, judges, law students, legal staff and friends who cook, serve and clean up after the meals.
Our lawyers, students and staff are enthusiastic supporters of the United Way of Greater Toronto. In addition to making individual donations, members of the firm organize various events to raise money for the United Way. Events include a pumpkin carving contest with the students showcasing their artistic talents, raffles, a bake sale and an on-line silent auction. We also support various organizations which are under the United Way umbrella. Outside of the firm-sponsored events, our lawyers are involved with, and sit on the Boards of, many charitable and other organizations, including, among others: The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance, Camp Awakening, the Toronto Blues Festival, Mount Sinai Hospital, The University of Toronto Innovations Foundation, the Kensington Health Centre and Villa Charities.
Aird & Berlis LLP is committed to improving access to justice. Several Aird & Berlis LLP litigation lawyers volunteer with the Child Advocacy Project through Pro Bono Law Ontario. The Child Advocacy Project is dedicated to safeguarding the public education rights of children and youth across Ontario. Matters include assisting children and youth with special needs and advocating on behalf of children and youth at suspension or expulsion hearings. There are opportunities for students to become involved in this project by working with the designated lawyers. We have proudly sponsored Olympic athletes: Speed skater Clara Hughes in the 2006 Winter Games in Turin and heptathlete Jessica Zelinka in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Clara won gold in the 5000m Individual event and silver in the Team Pursuit at the 2006 Games, making her the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in both the summer and winter games (Clara had previously won two broze medals in cycling at the 1996 Summer Games). Jessica is a four-time Canadian Champion, won gold at the 2007 Pan American Games and posted a personal best score (6490 points) at the 2008 games.
Our students are dynamic fundraisers, as well. They take part in the annual McCarthy’s Beach Volleyball tournament, benefiting the Osgoode “Feed the Hungry” program; the Winter Hope Clothing Drive for the Yonge Street Mission; and the Daily Bread Food Bank Food Drive. In the past we have also participated in the Bay Street Hoops Basketball Tournament (benefiting AboutFace and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto) and the Molson Indy Challenge (benefiting the Canadian Mental Health Association).