Instructor(s): Faculty Advisor, Beatrix Dart
Business Organizations; Externship Seminar

Note: 2 credits (1 ungraded credit per term)

Max Enrol: 10 (conditional enrol course)

See details on how to register below.

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

Learning objectives:
Students selected for the Board Governance Externship will join with the OnBoard team at Rotman School of Management, and work directly with a Board of Directors for eight months. The OnBoard team works with not-for-profit organizations. Each student will be partnered with a local board and will work on a legal governance issue of relevance to the needs of that organization. Previous partners have included the John Howard Society of Ontario, Silent Voice Canada, and the Canadian Cancer Society.  The student will be supervised by a lawyer-mentor within the partner organization to help guide their learning and project.

Students will participate in a variety of the legal tasks carried out by the corporate boards.

A goal of the course is to develop students’ governance and leadership skills. Students participating in the Board Governance externship will have an opportunity to develop their legal skills in a practice setting, including conducting legal research and drafting corporate documents. Students will develop a broad understanding of board governance by attending on matters with experienced lawyers in selected boards in Toronto.

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,
  • legal analysis and reasoning,
  • legal research,
  • governance,
  • relationship building and networking,
  • communication,
  • organization and management of legal work, and
  • recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas.

Depending on timing and individual placements, students may be exposed to:

  • negotiation,
  • board meetings,
  • working closely with board sub-committees,
  • interviewing clients for data collection; qualitative research to collect data from board members and stakeholders;
  • litigation, and
  • alternative dispute resolution procedures.

Students will attend a series of class meetings and labs offered at Rotman [Wednesdays, 4:15 to 6:15 pm]. During the class meeting students learn about Governance, Project Framing/Scoping, structuring working relationships with Mentors, conducting governance research, and delivering effective presentations.

During two or three labs students discuss pending work and support one another on a peer based model. Students will be required to submit a project scoping document, interim report, final report and other deliverables as requested by their client.

Students will be assigned work to do on their own time. Office space will not be provided. Arrangements will be made for students to attend a variety of significant meetings and events, sometimes sitting in on their peers' projects when appropriate. Students will prepare legal memoranda based on their own research on current issues and draft a variety of corporate documents.

To register for this course: please send an email to Sara Faherty at with a current CV and a brief (500 word) statement of interest. 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.

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.

Satisfactory completion of the externship, including the submission of the required assignments and attendance will earn 2 credits (1 ungraded credit per term).
Academic year
2022 - 2023

At a Glance

Both Terms



10 JD