Instructor(s): Faculty Advisor, Deepa Mattoo
Externship Seminar

Note: 2 credits (ungraded) per term

Max Enrol: 2 JD (conditional enroll course)

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

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.

See details on how to register below.

This course offers students the opportunity to advocate for the rights of women in a feminist legal clinic with an anti-oppression and anti-violence mandate.

Our Work:
The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic provides free legal, counseling and cultural interpretation services for women survivors of violence. The Clinic receives referrals from countless community-based agencies, as well as medical, legal and criminal justice professionals, social service organizations, and individuals concerned about violence against women. 

The legal department receives well over 150 requests every month from women seeking legal assistance. We offer direct client services in the areas of family, immigration/refugee protection, and criminal law, to women who have experienced different forms of violence. 

Our work is dedicated to eliminating violence against women and to promoting women's equality. Our services are designed to promote women's autonomy and safety, increase women's access to justice and facilitate their effective participation in justice systems. 

In addition to direct client service, the Clinic engages in public legal education, professional development, law reform, and community development initiatives that address the root causes of violence against women in society, and promote the development of more effective systemic responses to female victims of violence.

The U of T Clinical Education Program:
Students will work in teams on client files under the supervision of staff lawyers. Student teams will have full carriage of 5-7 client files. We ask students to plan to work one day per week at the clinic. Casework will include: drafting pleadings and affidavits, directing client meetings, attending court appearances, third-party advocacy, and legal research. Advocacy projects may include policy research, assistance with position papers, and public legal education.

The purposes of the Schlifer Clinic placement are for students:
- to be exposed to the practice of substantive areas of law that are relevant to violence survivors;
- to develop effective client communication and interviewing skills;
- to learn to create and maintain productive solicitor-client relationships; and
- to develop excellent file and case management skills.

While fieldwork assignments will necessarily vary from term to term, and from student to student, students enrolled in this externship can expect to be exposed to the following fundamental skills:

  • problem solving/strategic case development,
  • legal analysis and reasoning,
  • legal research,
  • evidence/documentation development,
  • client communication,
  • negotiation,
  • litigation/oral advocacy,
  • alternative dispute resolution procedures,
  • organization and management of legal work, and
  • recognizing and resolving ethical issues.

There are no formal pre-requisites for this course. Preference will be given however, to candidates who have: previous knowledge or experience in any of the Clinic's practice areas; previous demonstrated interest in or commitment to social justice or women's rights; or previous experience providing direct client services in a clinical setting.

To register for this course: please send an email to Sara Faherty at with a current CV, and a statement of interest including the following information:

- Why you wish to enroll in the Schlifer Clinic program;
- Your interest or experience in the areas of social justice and/or women's rights;
- Your interest or experience in any of the Clinic's legal practice areas; and
- A list of courses taken in any of our practice areas, social justice, or women's rights (transcript not necessary) or that may be otherwise relevant to the Schlifer Clinic's Mandate.

Students must apply to the clinic by the deadline for course selection before the lottery. Students will be interviewed for available positions. Acceptance to the Clinic is on a rolling basis and interested students are encouraged to apply early.

Students receive 4 credits for the completion of this placement. This clinic is ungraded. Student's successful completion of externship requirements will be assessed by the faculty advisors.
Credit note
Four credits (ungraded)
Academic year
2022 - 2023

At a Glance

Both Terms



2 JD