Visionary Donors for Accessible Legal Education

In March of 2015, a remarkable milestone was crossed. Osgoode’s largest ever student led fundraising campaign, aimed at debt relief and financial accessibility, crossed its goal of raising $125,000.00 to coincide with Osgoode Hall Law School’s 125th Anniversary. Our aim was for Osgoode’s Alumni to match that amount through this year’s Annual Fund campaign but, inspired by our students’ ambition, the Osgoode Annual Fund raised a record amount, far exceeding the $125K match. And the Law School itself matched the $125K as well. So, in total, in this first year of making debt relief a campaign priority, Osgoode has been able to set aside close to $400,000.00 in new and much needed accessibility funding. While the aggregate numbers are meaningful, so is every individual donation that made it possible. In this and a series of posts to follow, I profile some of the visionary donors who are investing now to ensure those who receive an amazing legal education at Osgoode are not precluded from putting it into action because of high debt loads. One such donor is Richard Bogoroch, the founding partner of Bogoroch & Associates LLP.
Richard Bogoroch graduated from McGill’s Faculty of Law and has spent close to three decades building his personal injury law practice – Bogoroch & Associates LLP now has ten lawyers and is routinely ranked as one of Canada’s 10 top Personal Injury firms. In 2004, the firm established the Bogoroch & Associates Entrance Award among the largest and most prestigious awards at Osgoode. In establishing this bursary, Bogoroch told me once his interest was not just in providing the means for a law student to obtain a great legal education, but also for that student to understand the value of giving back. Bogoroch likes to invoke on of Winston Churchill’s most quoted aphorisms: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
In the end, the Osgoode @125 Fund experience is more noteworthy for attracting 750 contributors, the largest number of donors for a single annual campaign in Osgoode’s history, than for the total amount raised. A young graduate contributing a small amount for the first time may be just as transformative to the goals of accessible legal education as an established full-service firm making a significant six-figure donation. Bogoroch’s own contribution of $25K to the Osgoode @125 Fund proves that it is not the size of the firm that matters, but rather the depth and character of its commitments.
It is no surprise that one of the students involved in the Osgoode @125 Fund campaign (and outgoing Legal and Literary Society President) Toby Samson will be joining Bogoroch & Associates as an articling student this summer. Leaders seek out opportunities with organizations that demonstrate a track record of leadership.
Richard Bogoroch is one of the truly visionary donors Osgoode is lucky to count as part of our community. I look forward to his generosity creating a lasting legacy of our graduates having opportunities which otherwise financial barriers and the high cost of tuition would have denied them.