LAWS students in legal robes

Spending time with lawyers and law students has changed the way I think about the law. As a future Crown Attorney, I am glad that I got a chance to spend time with my future colleagues.
          
- 15 year-old student, Central Technical School

Introduction

LAWS students in classroomLAWS is a collaborative education program designed to support, guide and motivate high school students who face barriers to success by exposing them to law and justice through workshops, mentorship and employment programs. We’re levelling the playing field in education by helping students find a pathway to success.

LAWS was the innovation of Ron Daniels, the former Dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. It was developed in response to Daniels’ recognition that although the law school was a well resourced institution with considerable expertise and engaged staff, faculty and students, it was located in the same community as high schools with diverse student bodies who faced significant challenges to succeeding in high school, accessing post-secondary education, attending law school and joining the legal profession. LAWS expanded to Osgoode Hall Law School in 2011.

Description

LAWS at Harbord SchoolOur model harnesses the power of experiential legal education to help high school students succeed. We bring high schools, law schools and justice professionals together to infuse law and justice themes into the education curriculum. We also provide a range of tutoring and mentorship programs to help students reach their potential and participate in the legal profession.

Our innovative programs are offered as part of three key streams:

  • Core Program
  • Newcomer Program
  • Alumni Program

We also support various other University of Toronto Faculty of Law youth outreach initiatives including See Yourself Here, the Youth Summer Program,  and the Law School Access Program.

Through our programming, we aim to encourage access to postsecondary institutions and increase the diversity of the legal profession, in order to better reflect, serve, shape and strengthen Canadian society.

Get Involved

LAWS student with mentor outside Flavelle HouseLaw student volunteers provide the people power for the majority of our program activities, providing LAWS high school students with repeated positive interactions with keen and engaged role models. Law student volunteers bring their diverse backgrounds, expertise and personal paths to law school to the table. Their participation, commitment and enthusiasm have an immediate and transformative impact on the personal and academic lives of LAWS students.

Volunteering for LAWS is a great way for law students to develop important professional skills, create meaningful relationships with youth, and make a positive and lasting contribution to the community. There are a number of ways for law students to participate in LAWS, with time commitments varying by activity. Law students are trained in advance and fully supported, and no previous experience working with youth is required. A LAWS staff member will be present at most activities to provide on-site support and guidance. Law students participate in LAWS by:

  • Tutoring and mentoring LAWS high school students
  • Developing and facilitating in-class workshops on legal themes
  • Coaching Mock Trial and Model United Nations teams
  • Accompanying students on field trips to courthouses and legal organizations
  • Supporting LAWS programs such as the Law Firm Mentoring Program and the Court Experience Program
  • Delivering conference sessions
  • Working for LAWS during the school year or over the summer break

For More Information

Visit the Law in Action Within Schools website at www.lawinaction.ca.

LAWS is grateful for the generous support of the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Contact

Eleonora Dimitrova
Director – Law in Action Within Schools
416-978-7922 
edimitrova@lawinaction.ca

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