Pre-requisites/Co-requisites
Externship Seminar

3 credits (ungraded)

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

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. These services also address the needs of low-income, self-represented litigants who are struggling to navigate the complexities of the civil justice system.

Students will report to Pro Bono Ontario’s office at the Superior Court of Justice courthouse at 393 University Avenue, Toronto where they will work on all aspects of providing assistance to low-income, self-represented litigants. The clinic will 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 civil procedure, employment, consumer law, lending, and housing law. Similar work at Pro Bono Ontario’s court-based help centre at the Toronto Small Claims Court at 47 Sheppard Avenue East may be included.

Placement activities:
Under the supervision of an experienced staff lawyer (periodically on-site), and volunteer lawyers from both firms and in-house legal departments (on-site), students are encouraged to take an active role in assessing the legal needs and eligibility 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, assist with court form completion, and gain valuable experience attending and observing volunteer lawyers to provide summary advice at the litigation clinic. Please note that this clinic does not represent clients in legal proceedings, but rather advises self-represented litigants on legal matters, thereby elevating their ability to gain meaningful access to justice system.

While the pacing and volume of work is subject to variation, students can expect a workload over the term of 9-12 hours/week. Students will complete their clinic hours during two 6-hour work days that run from 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm.

Enrolment:
This Clinic uses the standard course selection process. Select this course as you would any other.

Evaluation
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
Credits
3
Hours
0

Enrolment

Maximum
1
1 JD