Instructor(s): Sara Faherty, Matthew Wiens
Business Organizations
Externship Seminar

2 credits (ungraded) per term

Max Enroll: 6 JD (conditional enroll course limited to third year students)

Recommended preparation: one or more of the following: Copyright, Patent, Trademark; Labour and Employment Law; Franchise and Distribution Law; Real Estate Law

Learning objectives:
Ontario’s nonprofits, charities, artists, social enterprises and emerging small businesses provide vital services, provide training and job skills, create jobs and help generate wealth so that low-income and vulnerable Ontarians can build secure and productive lives. Unfortunately, only a small minority of these organizations are familiar with the legal requirements needed to operate in Ontario or mitigate their exposure. They may not even know that they would benefit from legal information and advice until it is too late. Even fewer have the resources to pay for this assistance.

In response to this unmet need and the increased interest in pro bono opportunities for corporate lawyers and in-house council, Pro Bono Ontario has established a Corporate Law Clinic. Using the infrastructure already in place at the Law Help Centre at 393 University Ave. this program runs twice a week between 4-7 p.m. and will allow low-resource charitable and nonprofit organizations, artists, social enterprises, emerging businesses and entrepreneurs to receive summary advice from experienced corporate lawyers and students.

The aim of the clinic is to provide students with hands-on, practical corporate law experience in order to develop their skills in legal research, client communication, client needs analysis and practical legal writing. Students will gain exposure to a broad range of corporate, tax, employment, contract, real estate, licensing and other business, commercial and regulatory matters.

Placement activities:
Under the supervision of an experienced commercial lawyer and volunteers from both firms and in-house legal departments, Students are encouraged to take an active role in assessing the legal needs of potential clients and to work directly with volunteer lawyers to in the development and provision of advice to clients. Students will make initial contact with the potential client, assess their legal needs, research the applicable area of law, prepare memos outlining background, legal considerations and their recommendations, work directly with volunteers to develop a legal strategy for the client, and gain valuable experience attending and observing volunteer lawyers provide summary advice at the corporate clinic.

While the pacing and volume of work is subject to variation, students can expect a workload over either term of approximately 65 hours.

To register for this course: you must email a one-page statement of interest to Sara Faherty ( by the deadline for course selection before the lottery. Indicate why you wish to register for this clinic, what relevant background or skills you have for the clinic and how you see the Connect Legal clinic within your overall University of Toronto Faculty of Law experience. If necessary, students will be interviewed for the available positions.

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 required assignments, evaluations and logs, earns two ungraded credits. The faculty supervisor assesses, in consultation with the field supervisor, whether the requirements for earning credit have been met.

At a Glance

Both Terms


6 JD