Instructor(s): Lisa Cirillo

Note: Tuesdays & Thursday (2 – 4 pm) plus a half-day mandatory training session on Friday, September 22, 2017 (revised date).

Enrollment Notes: This course does not require an application. Enrollment in all the clinics for credit is limited to upper year students. Students may enroll in either the first or second term. Exchange Students are not eligible to participate in clinics.

This part-time, one semester, clinical education program offers 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 Criminal Law Clinic will have the opportunity to represent clients charged with summary conviction criminal offences. The casework includes client counseling; case theory formulation; legal research; drafting of pleadings, written submissions, facta and professional correspondence; development of litigation strategy; pre-trial procedures and negotiations with Crown counsel and trial advocacy. Students in the Criminal Law Clinic will have the opportunity to attend court for set date appearances, guilty pleas and trials. They will also be able to work with outside counsel on summary conviction appeals.

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 attend at least one community outreach event over the term and to write a series of short reflective papers.

No previous experience, pre-requisites or co-requisites are required. However, students generally find that taking relevant classroom courses in conjunction with this program provides advantages in both their clinical work and the classroom courses. For students in the Criminal Law Clinic, such courses may include evidence and criminal procedure.

Attendance at all seminars and training sessions is mandatory. Students are expected to read the materials and participate in discussions. 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.

This course is graded on an HH/H/P/LP/F basis. Students will be required to produce regular written work related to their cases, as well as a series of short (4-6 pages) reflective journals, due at fixed intervals during the term. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their clinical work (including their written work) (60%), their reflective papers (20%) and their attendance and participation in seminars (20%).

At a Glance

First Term


7 JD


T: 2:00 - 4:00
Th: 2:00 - 4:00
655 Spadina Avenue