OBA Launches Province-wide Robe Bank Initiative

  • June 05, 2019

Legal garments will come with advice or anecdotes for new lawyers

TORONTO – Members of the Ontario Bar Association are once again stepping up to help the next generation of lawyers. The OBA has launched a new Robe Bank program that will match people who want to donate or lend their robes with new lawyers who need them across all judicial regions of Ontario.

The OBA Robe Bank is a direct response to some of the pressing concerns about the practicalities of entering the profession that new lawyers have been expressing recently.

“Court robes are an added cost new lawyers have to deal with at a time when many can’t afford any additional expense,” said OBA President Lynne Vicars. “OBA members heard the call, and, as our members usually do when issues affecting the profession arise, they immediately jumped at the opportunity to help.”

“Robes add to the already high cost of getting a law degree,” said Heather Donkers, chair of the OBA’s student division. “Access to the profession needs to be improved, and this is a great initiative that shows that OBA members want to welcome the new generation of lawyers into practice.”

The Robe Bank initiative will make robes available to anyone who needs one, no matter where their Call to the Bar ceremony is being held. With a province-wide network and extensive outreach, the OBA’s more than 16,000 members are able and willing to help anyone anywhere in Ontario.

What’s particularly special and unique about the OBA’s Robe Bank is that it not only addresses a pressing need, it is also a celebration of tradition in the legal profession. When a student selects a robe from the Robe Bank, they will also get a story or brief history of the robe from the lawyer, judge or law school professor who donated it.

“It is our hope that the anecdotes and stories attached to the robes will provide career inspiration to new lawyers entering the profession and that recipient lawyers will, in turn, share the new adventures of the robes with the donors,” Vicars said.

The OBA will host a launch party for the Robe Bank on June 12th in Toronto, marking the first opportunity students will have to select and pick-up their robes. Students not in Toronto are being matched with robes electronically with drop-offs and pick-ups being coordinated individually in communities outside of Toronto. Robe Bank parties are also being planned for next year in London and Ottawa.

Lawyers who have a robe to donate, or student members who need a robe, are asked to get in touch with the OBA at www.oba.org/robebank.

quick facts

  • The June 12th Robe Bank launch will take place at 20 Toronto St., 2nd Floor, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
  • Call to the Bar ceremonies are taking place in Ottawa (June 17th), London (June 29th) and Toronto (June 25 & 26, September 25 and January 21, 2020)
  • The JUST. Guide to Gowning

About the Ontario Bar Association

Established in 1907, the OBA is the largest voluntary legal association in Ontario representing over 16,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The OBA provides continuing professional development and advocates for improvements to the law in the interests of the profession and public.

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For more information:

Michael Speers - Media & Communications Specialist
416-869-1047 ext. 365