EMC News: Law students get chuckles for charity

currieStudents in the University of Ottawa's law program put down their books and picked up a microphone to have a few laughs and help raise a little money for a good cause at the same time.

A comedy night to raise money for Ottawa ACORN, an organization that fights for social justice for low-income families across Canada, was held on Feb. 7 at the Draft Pub.

Some of the university's law students volunteer for ACORN, including Michael Currie, who helped organize the event. He said the students just wanted to help the local association.

"It's a great feeling to know that we can use the law to help others," said Currie, who does stand-up comedy when he's not hitting the books.

"We look forward to raising some much-needed funds to keep Ottawa ACORN's initiative going."

Currie and six other law students and one law professor braved the stage, with some of them taking their first stab at stand up.

"Everybody did great," he said. "The audience was pumped up and we sold out very quickly."

Jill O'Reilly, an organizer at ACORN Ottawa, reached out to law students in early 2012 to match the soon-to-be lawyers with low-income families who needed assistance in landlord and tenant matters.

"Many of our members endure horrible conditions, such as cockroach infestations, mouse infestations,

flooding, mould, and so on, even though they pay their rent every month," O'Reilly said.

"The law students, including Michael (Currie), volunteer their time to fight for our members and help provide them with tools to deal with their disputes."

Currie said the program has helped these families understand their rights as tenants and has provided himself and the other students valuable experience.

This is the second time Currie has organized a comedy event for a cause and this year the jokes that rang through the pub during the evening involved personal experience, some law jokes and observations.

"I think a lot of people don't believe that I do stand up and am in law school - like you can't do both," Currie said. "I think also there are a lot of parallels with comedy and law - just having that confidence and comfort and connecting with other people - you have to do the same whether it is law or stand up."

As of last Friday, the group had raised $1,800, doubling what they raised at last year's event. All the proceeds from the evening were donated to ACORN. Currie indicated the event may become an annual affair.

Via EMC News