Civil Litigation & Dispute ResolutionBroadly speaking, civil litigators represent parties engaged in private disputes. The types of disputes range from employment, property, contract, tort, corporate, commercial, health, and beyond. The work can take the lawyer to the courtroom, before tribunals, or into alternative dispute resolution arenas, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Civil litigators practice in boutiques (firms specializing in this type of law), full-service law firms, in-house legal departments, and government. If you are interested in pursuing a litigation-based practice in a specific area of law (e.g., Family Law), check out the relevant web page for additional suggestions.

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What courses can I take?

Courses to consider in the upper years*

  • Evidence
  • Practical Civil Procedure
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Advanced Advocacy: problems and techniques
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Legal Environment
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Class Actions Law & Practice
  • International Commercial and Investor State Arbitration
  • Capstone Course: The Role of the Judge
  • Ethical Issues in Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Perspectives on Civil Litigation, Procedure & Professionalism

*Not all courses are offered in each academic year. Please consult the Course Calendar and Upper Year Courses by Subject Area resources.


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How can I get hands-on experience?

Experiential opportunities

  • Downtown Legal Services Clinic (esp. employment, immigration/refugee, family, housing, university affairs; for credit, paid summer positions or volunteer)
  • Advocates for Injured Workers Externship
  • Barbra Schlifer Clinic Externship
  • Pro Bono Ontario Litigation Externship
  • Any Moot (including Laskin, Walsh, Willms & Shier Environmental, Winkler Class Actions, Isaac Diversity, and Upper Year moots)
  • Grand Moot Competitive Program
  • Arnup Cup Competition
  • Canadian Labour Arbitration Competition
  • Walsh Family Law Negotiation Competition
  • Client Counselling Competition

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How else can I get involved?


  • Pro Bono Students Canada projects (including Ontario Deputy Judges Association Legal Internship and Toronto Deputy Judges Small Claims Court Clerking projects)
  • The Litigation Association Club
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society

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How can I connect with employers?

Work and networking ideas

Networking opportunities

  • Firm tours (check UTLC Events tab for details)
  • Informational interviews (go to UTLC > Resource Library > Interviews for guidance)
  • Events hosted by professional associations such as the Advocates’ Society
  • Lawyers Doing Cool Things

Fellowships & internships

Past paid Donner Fellowship placement sites include:

  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Industrial Accident Victims’ Group of Ontario
  • Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

Paid opportunities

Employers offering paid summer and articling opportunities in this area include:

  • Goldblatt Partners
  • Lenczner Slaght LLP
  • Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
  • Polley Faith LLP
  • Many full-service business law firms also have substantial civil litigation departments
  • The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General offers civil litigation opportunities in several of its Legal Services branches, including the Crown Law Office – Civil
  • The Department of Justice is responsible for all litigation by or against the federal government
  • Clerkships are available at several levels of provincial and federal court

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What resources can I look at?

Online career resources and events

The following resources are available to current UofT Law students and alumni through UTLC:

  • IL Summer Employment Guide
  • General Articling Guide
  • Government Interview and Information Guide
  • Recruitment Guides: Students can find recruitment guides on UTLC listing positions for 1L summer, 2L summer and articling recruitment cycles for a range of legal markets
  • Upper Year Student Directory to network with students who have worked in the area of Civil Litigation and dispute resolution

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