Instructor(s): Prasanna Balasundaram

In-Person Participation Requirement:
Students in the full-time program are expected to available for clinic work Monday-Friday during regular business hours. Much of this work can be done remotely. However, students in this course must be able to attend the clinic, as required, to meet with clients and perform other clinical work. While we anticipate that remote hearings will continue to be the norm for some time, students may also be required to represent clients in live proceedings as courts and tribunals are able to accommodate these. 

DLS is committed to ensuring the safety of our staff, students, and clients. We will continue to monitor both the provincial and federal health directives on all COVID-19 related matters to ensure we have best practices in place to protect our community. Should you have any questions or concerns about this in-person participation requirement, please contact us at

Course Description:
This full-time, one term clinical education program offers students the opportunity to explore legal principles and social policy issues in an empirical, public interest context. The program challenges students to examine issues with respect to the many intersections of law and social inequality 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. Through their clinical work, individualized tutorials, substantive training sessions and course seminars, students are provided with the chance to test relationships between legal rules and the realities of the justice process, to investigate the complex legal problems and policy issues which affect low-income communities, and to develop a conceptual and empirical understanding of public interest lawyering.

The program is conducted at Downtown Legal Services, a community legal clinic operated by the Faculty of Law which provides services to low-income people in the areas of criminal law, family law, employment law, housing law, refugee and immigration law, and university affairs. 

In addition to the casework described above, students will participate in weekly education sessions throughout the term. These sessions will include substantive legal training, case rounds and multi-disciplinary seminars. Students in the full-time program also assist with clinic intake and participate in DLS's expansive community outreach program (subject to COVID-19 public health restrictions). In terms of the writing component, students in the full-time program will produce a series of short reflective writing exercises throughout the term and are also required to submit a 20-25 page research paper on an issue of law or practice related to their clinical experiences at DLS. Students enrolled in this full-time clinical program will not take any other courses during the term.  

Generally, students in the full-time program will work in one area of law. Experienced caseworkers who have already completed one of the DLS part-time clinic programs or who have summered at DLS can apply to work in two divisions over the course of the term.

Application Process:
To apply for this course, please submit a Statement of Interest (maximum 2 pages) to Maria Sette, Student and Administrative Coordinator at, by Monday, July 11, 2022.

Your Statement of Interest should address the following points:

  1. which division (practice area) you wish to work in and your reasons for this selection. (For more information about DLS's divisions and the distinct learning opportunities offered by each, please refer to our website as well as the course descriptions for the individual part-time clinics)
  2. personal or lived experience with our client communities and areas of practice;
  3. previous coursework and / or experience in related areas of study;
  4. any previous experience in public interest advocacy or social justice work;
  5. indicators of academic, analytical and research and writing ability, which may include grades in related classes; and
  6. any previous experience with lawyering or advocacy work.

Enrollment Notes: This course requires an application. Enrollment in all the clinics for credit is limited to upper year students. Exchange Students are not eligible to participate in clinics.

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.

Accepting an offer of placement with the clinic is a serious commitment. Once an offer of admission is accepted, students will require permission from the Faculty to withdraw.

Option A: 15 ungraded credits for satisfactory completion of the course. Option B: With notice to the Records Office and the approval of the Director, 15 credits with full academic grading for completing requirements of the credit course, plus a law reform project. The law reform project is addition to the major research paper. For grading purposes, the supervising lawyer(s) will consider the student’s casework (60%), reflective assignments (10%), class attendance and participation (10%), and their research paper and law reform project (20%) for grading. Students pursuing this option must submit the Downtown Legal Services Graded Credit Form, available in the Academic Handbook, under Forms to the Records Office by the add/drop date in the first term. Students writing their Supervised Upper Year Research Paper in this full-time course must have a full-time faculty member as a co-supervisor.
Academic year
2022 - 2023

At a Glance

First Term



6 JD