July 20, 2021
Iris Barry Yake Robe Bank available at Calgary Courts Centre
Lawyers for Equity, Access, and Diversity (LEAD Alberta) is proud to announce that the Iris Barry Yake Robe Bank is now available at the Calgary Courts Centre. This Robe Bank is a self-serve robe bank, with a variety of sizes of robes and waistcoats, is free to use and on the honour system.
New courtroom attire is extremely expensive and can be cost prohibitive for students and young lawyers. Many lawyers only need courtroom attire once in their careers, and it is difficult to access this attire without pre-existing connections to the legal community. As well, the nature of the practice has changed, and there are an increasing number of lawyers practicing in solo or small practices where borrowed robes are not readily available. LEAD Alberta believes that the existence of the robe bank will eliminate a longstanding barrier to students and young lawyers in the legal profession.
In 1977, Iris Barry Yake was an articling student who had purchased her robes in anticipation of her bar admission ceremony. However, she was too ill to attend and died of cancer on January 12, 1978, at age 49, without having the opportunity to wear her robes in Court. Ms. Barry Yake’s Robes were the first robes to be donated to this project, which was started by bencher Moira Váně in the Edmonton courthouse.
In 2021, the Edmonton initiative was expanded to Calgary by Heather Spicer and LEAD Alberta, an organization devoted to increasing equity in the legal profession. Members of the Alberta Bench and Bar have kindly donated robes and waistcoats and made financial contributions to enable the purchase of dickies, which include the shirt front and tabs. The Calgary Bar Association has provided a significant financial contribution and have assisted with space and logistics at the Courthouse. DLA Piper (Canada) LLP provided space and logistics for robe collection.