Instructor(s): Sara Faherty
Business Organizations; Externship Seminar

Note: Variable credits (ungraded) per term

Max Enrol: 13 (conditional enrol course)

Note: Students enrolled in this externship must participate in the fall term Externship Seminar.  They must enrol in Business Organizations as either a co- or pre-requisite.

To register for this course, students must send a letter of interest and resumé to Sara Faherty at by the course selection deadline.

Learning objectives:
Students selected for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Externship will join with early-stage technology teams at Toronto law firms, and work directly with lawyers serving new clients for eight months. (N.B., students’ active work will take place exclusively with non-paying clients of these firms.)  Students will be supervised by a lawyer-supervisor within the partner organization to guide their learning and projects.

Externship-wide goals:
The primary goal of this externship is to give students hands-on experience working with the legal needs of emerging technology companies, including considerations around share structure, post-incorporation legal organization, corporate governance, protection of intellectual property, and general advisory work. 

Students participating in this externship will have an opportunity to develop their legal skills in a practice setting, including working directly with clients, conducting legal research and drafting corporate documents related to incorporation, human resource matters, and fundamental intellectual property planning. 

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

  • Communication skills,
  • Problem solving,
  • Legal analysis and reasoning,
  • Legal research,
  • Developing written informational materials for emerging technology companies,
  • Client interaction and support,
  • Facilitation of collaboration with different stakeholders,
  • File and practice management,
  • Relationship building and networking, and
  • Recognizing and resolving ethical issues.


A) Emerging Companies Group at Fasken

Max Enrollment: 1 JD student

The Emerging Companies group at Fasken is a national team that works with top-tier growth companies, venture capital investors and serial technology acquirers. The team delivers the highest level of service to entities in the technology ecosystem in Canada and abroad, and embraces new technologies in service delivery and the practice of law. Our lawyers assist businesses throughout their lifecycle, including early on during the development cycle of their product or service, and work on complex financing and exit transactions. 

The student will work directly with the co-leaders of the Emerging Companies group and other team members to develop business and to assist in the provision of legal services to clients. The student will assist in developing innovative solutions for clients, conduct research, and draft legal documents, memoranda or articles.

Timing: The student will spend 6 to 8 hours per week to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. The majority of the work is expected to be online, although there may be opportunities to attend on site at Fasken (333 Bay St.), subject to Firm work from home policies and the recommendations of public health authorities. 

Credits: 2 ungraded credits per term, Fall and Winter.

B) Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Group at Torys

Max Enrollment:  1 JD student

Torys provides a complete range of services to emerging and high growth technology companies, and to the venture capital funds, lenders and other investors who finance them. Torys acts as a strategic partner in helping founders determine when to raise money, how much to raise, who to raise it from, how to achieve the right economic structure, how to think about board and control issues and how to navigate successfully through the different stages of growth.

Subject to work-from-home restrictions in connection with COVID-19, students will be invited to attend onsite at Torys’ Toronto office (79 Wellington St. W.) for training sessions and other internal and external events. Students may also have the opportunity to work directly with one of Torys’ early stage clients and gain first-hand insight into how they build their business. Students will also:

  • draft legal agreements and ancillary documents in connection with corporate financings;
  • research and draft reports/articles on legal topics relevant to emerging technology companies; and
  • assist with the preparation of venture capital market deal studies.

Timing:  Students will spend six to eight hours a week to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.

Credits:  2 ungraded credits, Fall and 2 ungraded credits, Winter. 

C) The Entrepreneurship Hatchery

Maximum Enrollment:  8 JD students

Students selected for this placement will participate in building a tech start-up company for 8 months at the U of T Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery.  Students will work directly with a start-up team.  Students will work with the Go-o-Market Lead or Programs Lead or Executive Director of the Hatchery, and they will be supervised by lawyers affiliated with the Hatchery.  

The lawyer serving as the Go-To-Market Lead provides the structure and support to guide teams of student entrepreneurs to create viable business models and prototypes. Each law student will lend support to 1 start-up team.  Law students will liaise between their fledgling technology companies and their supervising lawyer to provide legal support and guidance.

Timing:  Students will meet as needed with their teams, which will require flexibility.

Credits: 3 ungraded credits per term, Fall and Winter.

D) LaBarge Weinstein                                                           

Maximum Enrollment:  1 JD student

The team at LaBarge Weinstein dedicates its practice to advising early-stage, growth companies within the Canadian tech sector, as well as the VCs and investors who back them.  They have extensive experience guiding founders from their ideation stage through to Series Seed financings and beyond. 

By participating in this externship, students will play a meaningful role in assisting counsel’s core client base: unfunded, early-stage technology companies who require legal representation at a time when the founders cannot afford to pay for such services; these founders are often students themselves, including current or former student-entrepreneurs from U of T programs like ICUBE.

Timing: Students will attend onsite at LaBarge Weinstein’s Toronto office (901 King St. W.) clinic on Wednesdays from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.  Weekly, students will engage in another 2-3 hours of written work in relation to direct services (e.g. drafting share terms, corporate resolutions and share issuance materials, vesting agreements, shareholders’ agreements, etc.), as well as dedicated time to research developments in relevant legislation. 

Credits:  Students earn 2 ungraded credits per term, Fall and Winter.

E) Nitro Program at Blakes                                                                                     

Max Enrollment:  1 JD student

Nitro is an innovative program that provides access to top-tier legal services for emerging technology companies at Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP (199 Bay Street Suite 4000).  Nitro is for companies in the seed and growth phases of their development. Nitro is designed to help guide and manage the progress of companies while reducing cost and risk.

Students will attend at Blake’s offices to support the work of the Nitro program under the supervision of a lawyer. Students will also:

  • Assist with the development of the legal tech platform Founded.
  • Assist with the development and refinement of the Nitro precedent library.
  • Assist with the development of a chart of key deal terms on recently completed financings.

Timing:  Students will spend four hours a week to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.

Credits:  1 ungraded credit per term, Fall and Winter. 

F) Venture Technology and Emerging Growth Companies at Dentons           

Max Enrollment:  1 JD student

Dentons helps clients deal with the formidable challenges all emerging growth companies face, including accessing capital, protecting intellectual property, and recruiting and retaining top talent as they evolve their ideas from inception to mature business.  Students in this placement will work with expert lawyers at Dentons (77 King Street West, Suite 400) as they serve as legal and strategic advisors experienced in this terrain.

Timing:  Students will spend four hours a week to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.

Credits:  2 ungraded credits per term, Fall and Winter.

Variable credits (ungraded) per term (see placements for details).
Academic year
2023 - 2024

At a Glance

Both Terms



13 JD