Lawyer looking forward to ‘new challenge’ at legal clinic

For Trudy McCormick, becoming the new staff lawyer at the Rainy River District Legal Clinic for both the Fort Frances and Atikokan offices was an attractive offer for a couple of reasons.
First of all, McCormick said she was looking for a new challenge after running a private practice in Atikokan for the last 12 years.
“It also was a good opportunity to remain in Northwestern Ontario and still practise law,” she said. “Atikokan didn’t support a full-time practice any more.”
McCormick, who started part-time with the legal clinic earlier this summer, said the work is different than in a private practice, sticking strictly to “poverty law” (aiding people who can’t get a legal aid certificate or afford to hire a lawyer).
But she stressed that doesn’t mean she won’t be just as busy.
“There’s some court, some tribunal, and a lot of advisory to tenants on the Tenant’s Protection Act,” McCormick said. “It’s a very general clinic practice–you’ll get a little bit of everything.
“I think it will be varied in its own way,” she added.
McCormick won’t be working at the legal clinic full-time until Oct. 1, saying she still has to wind down parts of her private practice. Right now, she’s in the office here Tuesdays and Wednesdays but will switch to Monday through Thursday in October.
She will be at the legal clinic’s office in Atikokan each Friday.
McCormick admitted there will be a bit of a learning curve until she settles in fully but viewed the learning process as an exciting opportunity.
“It’s an opportunity to help people without having to watch the clock and watch my billings,” she said. “I’m looking forward to that.”
And McCormick is filling a huge gap at the legal clinic, which hasn’t been able to offer the services of a lawyer for the better part of a year.
Elton Brant, chair of the legal clinic’s board of directors, said the board has been very pleased with McCormick’s performance in the short period of time she’s been there so far.
Meanwhile, Brant said the clinic is still looking for an executive director, noting the board has done some interviews but has not been able to find a “suitable” candidate.
“We’re hoping the process of hiring the new executive will be completed by the end of September,” he said. “And we’re hopeful to have the executive on board as soon after that as can be.”