Externship Seminar

2 credits (ungraded) per term

Max Enrol: 2 (conditional enrol course)

See details on how to register below.

Note: Students enrolled in year-long externships must participate in the fall term Externship Seminar.

Pre-requisite: While there are no formal pre-requisites for this course, preference will be given to candidates who have previous knowledge or experience in any of ALSs service areas; previous demonstrated interest in social justice or aboriginal rights; or previous experience providing direct client services.

This part-time, two-semester clinical education program gives students the opportunity to explore legal issues and policy issues concerning Aboriginal access to justice in an empirical, public interest context. The program challenges students to examine justice issues concerning the Aboriginal community in a critical way, while at the same time allowing them to develop the professional and ethical literacy which is essential to the practice of law.

The Legal Clinic
Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) provides free legal assistance to low income Aboriginal people living in the City of Toronto. It also engages in strategic litigation, public legal education, and law reform. ALS operates an alternative justice program and youth, criminal and family court workers provide services in Toronto courthouses. ALS also prepares Gladue reports and provides Gladue caseworker support in ten Ontario communities. The Aboriginal Legal Service Corporation is funded by Legal Aid Ontario, and supported by Federal and Provincial government Ministries.

Aboriginal Legal Services serves people in a variety of areas including:
Housing problems and tenant rights
Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Plan
Indian Act matters
Canada Pension Disability applications
Employment Insurance and Employment Standards
Police Complaints
Criminal Injuries Compensation
Human Rights
Referrals to lawyers on other matters including criminal and family law
Aboriginal Courtwork Program
Community Council for Criminal Matters
Giiwedin Anang Council on Child Welfare
Gladue Programs.

Students will work with both the Program Director and the Legal Advocacy Director. The student working with the Program Director will focus on Gladue programs. This will include specific research for individual Gladue Reports, and more generic summaries of issues (e.g. alcohol addiction among Aboriginal people, inter-generational impacts of residential school, etc.) These summaries would be used in Gladue Reports where that information was relevant. The student would also have the opportunity to assist in the preparation of a Gladue Report, attend sittings of a Gladue Court, and follow the impact of the reports on individual clients.

The student working with the Legal Advocacy Director will focus on formal and informal advocacy on behalf of ALS clients. The student will attend issue-specific training and develop materials for use within ALS. The specific work will include research, drafting of memos, and preparation of correspondence and applications.

In addition to individualized tutorials with the Directors, students will attend regular seminars on substantive legal and practical issues (approx. 6 hours per term).

How to register for this course:
To register for this course, please send an email to Sara Faherty at with a current CV, a short writing sample (e.g. an excerpt from an academic paper) and a statement of interest including the following information:

- Why you wish to enroll in the Aboriginal Legal Services Clinic program;
- Your interest or experience in any of the Clinics legal service areas; and
- A list of courses taken in any of our practice areas, social justice, or Aboriginal rights (transcript not necessary).

Students must apply to the clinic by the deadline for course selection before the lottery. Review of applications begins at the start of the course selection period and ALS will interview students for the available positions. Acceptance to the Clinic is on a rolling basis and interested students are encouraged to apply early.

Note: Enrollment in this clinic is conditional. The Records Office will add the clinic to the student's course selection once participation is confirmed by the clinic instructor. In the meantime, students must select sufficient credits for the term/year. Students approved for the clinic will have the opportunity to adjust their credits before the add/drop deadline.

Students will receive four ungraded credits for completion of the program. Students successful completion of externship requirements will be assessed by the faculty advisors.

At a Glance

Both Terms



2 JD