Friday, April 4, 2014

Law students, faculty and staff put on quite the show recently, donning electric-coloured wigs for a good cause, and raising $3,332 for access to justice initiatives in Ontario.

Flip Your Wig for Justice is a pledge-based awareness campaign, in support of seven non-profit organizations in Ontario, including Pro Bono Students Canada, a national program housed at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Leading up to the launch, law deans across Ontario joined in the campaign for awareness as well, as FYW 'ambassadors' and sported their wigs for publicity shots. (Dean Mayo Moran selected blue, in keeping with the U of T colours.)

Three students in outrageous wigs, laughing

Group of 4 students laughing, wearing outrageous wigs

For the initiative’s inaugural year, U of T hosted a wig contest where everyone was invited to Rock That Mop and walk down a pseudo-catwalk for gift card prizes. The contest was adjudicated by four esteemed judges of the “Supreme Court of Coiffure”: Professor Jim Phillips as the Chief Justice, with Barbara Grossman (Dentons), Abby Deshman (Canadian Civil Liberties Association), and Sarah McCoubrey (OJEN) presiding. Best Faculty Wig went to Professor Bruce Chapman. Students Law Society President Brendan Stevens won Best Student Wig.

The wig contest was followed by the Mane Event: Panel Discussion in which the "judges" engaged in a discussion about access to justice and pro bono work. It was facilitated by Nikki Gershbain, executive director of PBSC. McCoubrey gave a succinct overview of the complex problem before the panelists discussed pro bono efforts, how access to justice issues influence and direct their work, how the meaning of “pro bono” has changed in the firm culture, why access to justice must be a priority, and the positive impact that students can have on how the justice system functions and serves.

Panel judges with fun wigs

This lunchtime event and Flip Your Wig for Justice day was the culmination of weeks of posters and social media campaigning at U of T. Students of all years participated in the initiative by donating to the cause and/or wearing a wig for the day, to get people talking about accessibility in all realms of the justice system, and to increase wig-flipping participation. To support the team or for more information on the Flip Your Wig for Justice campaign, please visit