In-Person Participation Requirement:
Participation in a DLS clinical program involves a mix of activities including seminars, research and writing, and client work. Some 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 

Schedule: Weekly seminar (Mondays 4:10-7:00 pm) plus a mandatory Joint Clinic Professionalism Training on (Date TBD).

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

Enrolling in a DLS clinic is a serious commitment. Once enrolment is confirmed, students will require permission from the Faculty to withdraw.

Course Description:
This part-time, full-year clinical education programoffers 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. 

Students in the Criminal Law & Academic Offences Clinicwill have the opportunity to represent clients facing charges in two unique settings: they will assist clients charged with summary conviction offences before the Ontario Court of Justice and they will also assist students charged with academic offences or facing charges under the University’s Code of Conduct. The casework in both these settings includes client counseling; case theory formulation; legal research; drafting of pleadings, written submissions, facta, and professional correspondence; development of litigation strategy; pre-trial procedures and negotiations with opposing counsel and oral advocacy. 

Within our criminal law practice, students will have the opportunity to attend court for set date appearances, guilty pleas, and trials. They will also work with outside counsel on summary conviction appeals. For the academic offences files, we represent clients charged with offences such as plagiarism, unauthorized aid, and personation. Within this area of practice, student caseworkers will have the opportunity to appear at dean’s meetings, conduct negotiations, and appear at administrative hearings. 

Suggested Pre or Co-Requisites: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Administrative Law 

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 a number of areas of law. 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. Credit students are also required to participate in the clinic’s community outreach program (subject to COVID-19 public health restrictions) and to write a series of short reflective papers. 

While we strive to make the overall workload of the clinic comparable to a course of similar weight, the clinic involves real case work, with deadlines that are not always within our control. It also involves serious commitments to clients who are dealing with significant legal issues. In this sense, the clinic requires a commitment beyond what is normally expected in an academic seminar. The credit weighting of this course is designed to reflect this additional commitment. 

Participation (via online tools whenever permitted) in all seminars and training sessions is mandatory. In addition to the weekly seminar, students are required to be in regular contact with the clinic to monitor developments on their files and to commit to a 2-hour weekly “office hours” shift during which time they will be available to receive client calls (these calls can be received remotely). Students should expect that their clinic work will often require additional time over and above this block. 

Option A: 8 ungraded credits for satisfactory completion of the course. Option B: With notice to the Records Office and the approval of the Director, 8 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.
Credit note
8 credits (4 credits allocated in each term).
Academic year
2022 - 2023

At a Glance

Both Terms



10 JD


M: 4:10 - 7:00 pm

655 Spadina Avenue