Hands-On Experience and Direct Interaction with Legal Problems

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law values experiential learning and provides myriad opportunities for students to roll up their sleeves and help people solve their legal problems. By bridging the abstract learning of the classroom to the practical training of doing legal work, experiential education reinforces learning and increases the availability of legal services in the Toronto area. Students benefit from observation, interaction, and reflection while the entire community benefits from students’ energy and talent. In the 2020 academic year, the delivery model (in person, online, hybrid) of our experiential opportunities may vary to follow the ongoing guidance around COVID-19 from health authorities and the university.

Our Clinics

Closely supervised by highly qualified lawyers, students can engage in one of our four in-house clinics at the Faculty of Law, for academic credit or as a volunteer.

Downtown Legal Services is a leading public interest clinic for low income clients.   It houses six clinics, in which students can experience different areas of the law:

  • Criminal: representing clients charged with summary conviction offences
  • Family: helping resolve issues of custody, access and support
  • Refugee and Immigration: helping clients gain legal status
  • Housing: helping tenants resolve evictions, maintenance and other issues
  • University Affairs: representing students charged with academic offences and appeals
  • Employment: representing clients who have lost jobs, or face work related issues

David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights is devoted to advocacy, research and education in the area of Canadian Constitutional rights.  Students work on appeals that invoke the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in innovative ways to promote social justice.

International Human Rights Program focuses on advocacy, knowledge-exchange and capacity-building initiatives in the areas of existing and emerging international human rights obligations.  Students tackle research and fact-finding, litigation, grass-roots mobilization and media engagement.

Investor Protection Clinic will launch in 2020! It provides free legal services and public legal education to members of vulnerable communities who are at risk of suffering harm relating to their investments.  It will have a special focus on helping the elderly, newcomers to Canada, and others who may not be able to afford legal representation. Students can volunteer on projects, or take a clinic course.

Our Externships

We have created a rich array of externships in the legal community.  Students can choose from these opportunities for academic credit.  Externships in recent years have included:

  • Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto
  • Advocates for Injured Workers
  • Appellate Criminal Litigation
  • Barbra Schlifer Clinic
  • Not-for-profit Board Governance
  • Citizen Lab
  • City of Toronto Municipal Government
  • Environmental Law Practicum
  • Health Justice Initiative at St. Michael's Hospital
  • Innocence Canada
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Legislative Assembly Statutory Interpretation
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation
  • Ontario Human Rights Commission
  • Pro Bono Ontario Litigation
  • Structural Genomics Consortium

Please consult the Course Calendar to see what is offered this year.

Innovative, experiential courses

We are proud of the breadth of courses we offer, including many that include experiential approaches and evaluation methods.  Students can choose skills or problem based learning, simulations, labs and other innovative approaches.  Recently examples of courses with significant experiential components  include:

  • Advanced Advocacy: problems and techniques
  • Advanced Torts
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Legal Environment
  •  Art of the Deal
  • Constitutional Advocacy
  • Corporate Transactions
  • Class Actions Law & Practice
  • Entertainment Law
  • International Commercial and Investor State Arbitration
  • Legal Design Lab
  • Negotiation
  • Tax Dispute and Litigation
  • The Supreme Court: The Search for Justice
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Copyright Policy in the Making
  • Wills and Estates Planning

We add and change course selections every year, so please consult the Course Calendar to see the most up to date offerings.


Our Faculty offers 15 different mooting competitions – which compete locally, nationally, and sometimes even internationally!  Get involved as a team member for academic credit, or in your third year as a coach.  Or consider participating in one of our other competitions, such as trial ad, client counselling, negotiation, and arbitration.

Our Volunteer Programs

There are even more ways for our students to roll-up their sleeves and engage with the community.  Two of our popular volunteer programs are:

Pro Bono Students Canada: The University of Toronto PBSC Chapter places over 120 volunteer law students with public interest organizations, legal clinics, tribunals, courts and lawyers taking on pro bono projects.

LAWS is a law and justice-themed program that brings high school students together with law students and faculty to help the high school students achieve their full potential.