Externship Seminar

3 credits (ungraded)

Max Enroll: 3 JD (conditional enroll course)

Learning objectives:
Students in this externship work with lawyers at Pro Bono Ontario, whose clients are vulnerable individuals desperately in need of help with everyday legal problems. These include frail people on fixed incomes who have fallen prey to predatory lending schemes, caregivers facing job loss when tending to sick relatives, children facing barriers to their education, or self-employed contractors struggling to collect monies owed. Pro Bono Ontario’s litigation services prevent a spiral of costly social problems, and often mean the difference between shelter and homelessness, food on the table and hunger, economic stability and bankruptcy, productive work and unemployment.

Pro Bono Ontario develops and manages high quality programs that connect volunteer lawyers with Ontarians who can’t afford a lawyer.

Students will report to Pro Bono Ontario’s offices at 393 University Avenue, Toronto where they will work on all aspects of providing assistance to self-represented low income clients. The aim of the clinic is to provide students with hands-on, practical litigation 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 legal disputes including issues in education, employment, lending, and housing law.

Placement activities:
Under the supervision of an experienced 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 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 to provide summary advice at the litigation clinic.

While the pacing and volume of work is subject to variation, students can expect a workload over the term of approximately 150 hours.

To register for this course: you must email a one-page statement of interest to Sara Faherty ( by August 26. Indicate why you wish to register for this clinic, what relevant background or skills you have for the clinic and how you see the Pro Bono litigation 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 instructors. 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 three ungraded credits. The faculty supervisor assesses, in consultation with the field supervisor, whether the requirements for earning credit have been met.

At a Glance

First Term


3 JD