Law firm pledges $250K to combat homelessness


After a decade serving the residents of Chatham-Kent, some might say Whittal + Company Law Firm (WCLF) has put down roots. But as part of the company’s celebration of its first decade in business, it is showing just how deep those roots are by pledging $250,000 over the next 10 years to help Chatham-Kent’s homeless.

Rachel Schwarz Whittal said the company has committed the funds with its At Home campaign to aid Indwell in its development of supported housing for the homeless in the municipality.

The firm will use its strengths to organize campaigns that raise awareness and financial support for organizations who have proven track records of success in addressing homelessness, including Indwell.

“Indwell is honoured to partner with Whittal + Company Law Firm as they make this significant commitment to reduce homelessness in Chatham Kent,” Jeff Neven, executive director of Indwell, said in a media release. “As Indwell explores how we can contribute to ending homelessness in the area, Whittal’s pledge demonstrates their leadership and vision for their community.”

Working with Indwell just makes sense for WCLF, Schwarz Whittal said.

“Everybody who is part of the leadership decision making at the law office thinks it is really important for the corporation that relies on the community for business to make sure we are giving back as well,” she said. “We were able to make a bigger commitment. We wanted to address a big concept.”

Getting involved to help address the homeless issue is a natural fit for the firm, Schwarz Whittal added.

“Housing is something we work in. One of our biggest practice areas is real estate. We help people get into their homes,” she said. “And now a portion of every real estate transaction that we do is going into this project.”

Schwartz Whittal said the firm has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the basement of the home of she and husband Daniel Whittal, the CEO of WCLF a decade ago, shifting to a one-room office on Park Avenue, then moving to Victoria Avenue and now into the former Libbey’s building on Richmond Street.

On top of growth in Chatham, the firm two years ago added a satellite office in Ridgetown. This year, they will add another office in Wallaceburg.

“It’s all about convenience of clients and ease of access. When people need lawyers, they need lawyers. They need to access them in their community,” Schwarz Whittal said.

WCLF has been drawing lawyers to the community from other parts of the province as well. She said lawyers from Ottawa and the GTA have moved here to be with the company.


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