In-Person Participation Requirement:
Participation in a DLS clinical program involves a mix of activities including seminars, research & 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 Family Law Clinic will have the opportunity to help clients resolve issues of custody, access, and support, either through negotiation or litigation. The casework will include client counseling; case theory formulation; drafting of pleadings, motion materials, conference briefs and financial statements; litigation strategy; negotiating with opposing counsel; and representing clients at first appearances, conferences and motions. 

For students in the Family Law Clinic, such courses may include Family Law and Advanced Family Law. Prior volunteer experience at DLS or with the Family Law Project (through Pro Bono Students Canada) is also extremely helpful.  Note:  Due to the risk of conflicts of interest, students are not permitted to participate in the DLS Family Law Clinic and PBSC’s Family law project simultaneously. 

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 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 another writing project. The additional writing project is to be 10 to 15 pages and related in subject matter to the course. For grading purposes, the supervising lawyer(s) will consider the student’s casework (60%), reflective assignments (10%), class attendance and participation (10%), and the added written component (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



8 JD


M: 4:10 - 7:00 pm

655 Spadina Avenue