Client Assistance & Intake

Intake is the first point of contact for individuals seeking assistance from various organizations. PBSC volunteers at these placements will have the opportunity to assist with tasks such as answering phones, screening potential clients, providing referrals, and interviewing applicants regarding their legal issues. Client assistance and intake positions will provide valuable experience in interacting with real-life clients and legal issues, while meaningfully contributing to the resolution of various legal matters. For some placements, students will have the opportunity to shadow lawyers in their day-to-day legal work, attend hearings, assist clients with completing forms and applications, or drafting written submissions.

List of Projects

Advocacy Center for the Elderly (ACE) - Client Services, Research and Writing Project

The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly is committed to upholding the rights of low-income seniors.  Its purpose is to improve the quality of life of seniors by providing legal services which include direct client assistance, public legal education, law reform, community development and community organizing.

Students will undertake the completion of mandatory training sessions and modules prior to starting their placement.

Students will provide assistance with client intake by telephone, email and in-person, which includes:

  • Collecting and recording caller information and details of facts presented;
  • Data entry into client-management software;
  • Identification of pertinent legal issues;
  • Referral to ACE legal staff; and,
  • Any necessary follow-up under the supervision and direction of ACE legal staff.

Students will assist with case files (i.e. legal research and drafting), as may be required, under the direct supervision of an ACE staff lawyer. They will also get the opportunity to prepare legal research memoranda and other materials such as draft blogs, draft webpages or other materials under the direct supervision of an ACE staff lawyer.

How Many Students?

2-3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in and/or exposure to health law; consent, capacity and substitute decision -making; evidence law; administrative law; and/or civil procedure is an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

2 Carlton Street, #701, Toronto, ON.

 

Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic 

The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic offers legal representation, professional counselling and multilingual interpretation to women who have experienced violence. Our diverse, skilled and compassionate staff accompany women through personal and practical transformation, helping them to build lives free from violence.

The Family Court Support Program is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General. Court-based staff provide legal information, referrals, and support to survivors of domestic violence at the three Toronto family courts (311 Jarvis, 393 University, 47 Sheppard). The BSCC administers the English-language portion of the program.

The Family Court Support Workers advocate and liaise with duty counsel, Legal Aid Ontario, shelters, victim-witness, and court staff and other external service providers. Court accompaniment is also sometimes provided. Pro Bono students will assist the BSCC court support workers. Student volunteers will work alongside court support workers during intakes, assessments, and safety planning. Students will complete other tasks under the direct supervision and guidance of the BSCC court support workers, including:

- Supporting Family Court Support Workers with client intakes;
- Assisting with follow-up calls to clients;
- Supporting Family Court Support Workers with writing up and organising client notes;
- Researching referrals to specialized services and community supports; and,
- Supporting Family Court Support Workers with client court accompaniments, including, where appropriate, meetings with lawyers.

Students will not provide legal advice or assistance with pleadings, but will be exposed to the court system and provide court accompaniment which typically involves the opportunity to sit in on legal proceedings and take notes.

Students will be required to attend a mandatory training session with BSCC for 2 hours on Sept 30th, 2019.

Students will be recruited for the following weekly shifts:

47 Sheppard:
Monday: 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
Tuesday: 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
Thursday: 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
Friday: 10am-1pm

311 Jarvis:
Monday: 10am-1pm
Tuesday: 10am-1pm
Thursday: 10am-1pm

393 University:
Monday: 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
Tuesday: 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
Thursday: 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm

How Many Students?

6 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Family law knowledge is preferred, but not necessary. Past work with survivors of violence would be an asset. Upper year students are preferred, but 1L students with appropriate background may be accepted.

Previous clinical experience and some knowledge of violence against women is preferred. Capacity for empathy and a non-judgmental attitude are a must. Given the nature of the work and the clients being served, student volunteers must identify as female.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Regular shifts at one of the courthouses listed above.

 

 

Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) - Clinic Research and File Assistance Project

The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) works toward protecting public health and the environment by seeking justice for those harmed by pollution or poor decision-making and by changing policies to prevent problems in the first place. Since 1970, CELA has used legal tools, undertaken ground-breaking research and advocated for increased environmental protection and to safeguard communities. As a specialty clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario, our primary focus is on assisting low-income people and disadvantaged communities.

When implementing our legal aid mandate, CELA's strategic objectives are to:
• hold governments and polluters legally accountable in relation to environmental harm or adverse effects upon public health and safety;
• maintain and expand citizens’ environmental rights, and improve environmental equity;
• seek proactive solutions including via the precautionary principle in order to reduce or avoid
activities or exposures that may harm human or ecosystem health; and
• ensure timely, effective cleanup of past or present pollution to achieve improvement in public
health and environmental quality.

Student Responsibilities
Research memos on current files; assisting lawyers with files and law reform; producing summaries based on recent government changes to federal environmental and energy regulations (plain language translations).

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Upper year students only; student must have taken or be concurrently taking Administrative Law and must show interest in public interest law, poverty law, environmental law and/or social justice.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

It is preferred that students work at the office located at 55 University Ave #1500, Toronto, ON.

 

 

Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association (CMLA) - Muslim Legal Support Centre (*NEW*)

Founded in 1998, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association (CMLA) is a non-profit association dedicated to promoting the objectives of self-identifying Muslim members of the legal profession. The organization also welcomes membership for Non-Muslims that support their initiatives from legal advocacy to networking. The CMLA advocates in the legal areas of interest for Muslim-Canadians across the country, approaching issues from a perspective informed by the legal expertise of its members in the pursuit of access to justice.

This year, the CMLA is launching a ground-breaking initiative – the Muslim Legal Support Centre (“the Centre”). The Centre will utilize elements of legal assistance to deliver necessary pro bono legal services to low-income Muslim communities across Toronto.

Students matched to this project will assist the CMLA in bolstering the impact of the Centre in two distinct phases.

PHASE ONE

In the Fall, students will work with their supervisors to produce culturally competent, accessible, plain language resources for the clients of the clinic and the broader Muslim communities in Toronto and the GTA. These resources could take the form of brochures, infographics, etc. and will cover a range of information on legal areas relevant to Muslim communities such as:

  • Employment Law
  • Social Assistance
  • Landlord/Tenant Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Human Rights Law

Students will be able to develop their legal research and writing skillset during this phase of the project. All material will be reviewed by the lawyer supervisor prior to its use.

PHASE TWO

In the Winter, the students will begin participating in client intakes at The Centre. Students will meet with applicants or speak with them over the phone and take down their personal information, identify their legal questions for the lawyers, record the facts of their case, and complete other questions on the clinic’s standardized intake form. These intake forms will be given to the appropriate lawyers to determine if the clinic will proceed with the case.

Students will be able to engage in client interaction and develop their issue-spotting skills during this phase of the project.

How Many Students?

2-3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Experience working in social service organizations or agencies is an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

During the Fall, this is a remote project. In the Winter, the clinic will operate out of a few fixed locations in the Toronto Area (Regent Park, Scarborough, etc.) which the students will be expected to attend.

 

Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) - Eviction Prevention Caseworkers (*NEW*)

When self-represented litigants facing eviction attend the Landlord/Tenant Board, too often they do not have the proper documentation nor a clear understanding of the procedures in place. This leads to issues with their paperwork (i.e. missing documents, incorrect number of copies), feelings of intimidation caused by an unfamiliar environment, imprecise arguments presented to the adjudicator, and an overall confusion about the process. Ultimately, this lack of understanding creates a gap in access to justice.

CERA is seeking to mitigate this gap by piloting a new project jointly with Osgoode and U of T. Students matched to this project will operate as caseworkers under the direction of CERA, exclusively working on Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) cases that the supervisor deems appropriate for students. For each file assigned to a student, they will, in conjunction with the supervising lawyer, program manager and community worker:

  • Speak with the client over the phone to glean a first-hand account of their case and establish a rapport;
  • In consultation with the supervising lawyer, determine which documents the client needs to bring to their hearing;
  • assist in the drafting or procurement of the documents that the client needs;
  • provide the client with the necessary information so that they may prepare themselves for the tribunal (i.e. review LTB processes and common procedures);
  • perform any other case management responsibilities that are appropriate for the student; and
  • attend the tribunal with the client on the day of their hearing (NOTE: the student will not participate in the actual hearing but remain in the audience when their client goes up for their hearing as a support figure, if possible).

Any documents produced or filled in by the students must be reviewed by the supervising lawyer prior to being returned to the client.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Students who have taken administrative law are preferred.

Experience working with or serving clients, familiarity with barriers facing equity-seeking groups, and strong case management skills (project management, time management, scheduling) are all considered to be assets, too.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

192 Spadina Ave Suite 427, Toronto, ON M5T 2C2. Students will confirm location of hearings with supervisor.

 

CLASP I.D. Clinic

Possessing photo identification is a necessity of modern day life.  However, obtaining  and  retaining  identification  documents  is  a  big  challenge  for  many people, including  young  mothers, their  children,  survivors  of  domestic  violence, and the homeless.

PBSC students will  speak  to  clients,  informing  them  of  the  program,  how  it  works, and whom to speak  with.  When clients  ask  for help  to  fill  out  the  appropriate  documentation,  PBSC students will assist in filling out the applicable identification-related forms under direct supervision from the lawyer supervisor.

It is  expected  that  a  diverse  range  of  other  legal  issues  may  arise  while  interviewing  clients.  The PBSC students are encouraged to make the appropriate referrals  using  CLASP’s referral  binder, where needed.

In  addition  to  working  at  the  clinic,  students  will  spend  time  between  shifts  on  assigned  tasks related  to  running  and  improving  the ID clinic,  including  file  management, developing  community awareness,  researching  fee  waiver  options (i.e. law reform efforts to revive Bill 26),  and  exploring  expansion  options  for  the  clinic (i.e. attending A2J events like Homeless Connect).

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake (ID Documents) / Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Experience in a clinic setting, experience with poverty law, experience with client intake/interviewing are preferred but not necessary.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Clinic will take place on Fridays from 12:30-4:30pm at CLASP, located in Osgoode Hall Law School. Non-client work (research, writing and community outreach) can be done remotely, subject to the supervisor's approval.

 

CLASP + KPMG Tax Dispute Clinic

CLASP is a free community legal clinic that assists low-income individuals in the City of Toronto with their legal issues in administrative law, criminal law, family law, and immigration law.

KPMG is a Canadian leader in delivering Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. KPMG responds to clients’ complex business challenges across the country and around the world. Their employees provide crucial services to many of the top business, not for profit and government organizations in Canada.

Why a Pro Bono Tax Clinic Model?
Many low-income individuals encounter legal problems in, or including, tax law. Despite this, pro bono services in tax law are extremely limited in Toronto and Canada more generally. This clinic is a collaboration between CLASP, KPMG Law LLP, and PBSC to meet the needs of the community and serve as a model for other tax clinics across the country. The resolution of a tax matter often enables the taxpayer to address other problems, such as obtaining better housing, purchasing or repairing a vehicle, or obtaining needed medical care with the tax refund or relief.

The structure for the Pro Bono Tax Clinic is based on the process used in Virgina’s Community Tax Law Project, one of 156 Low-Income Tax Clinics across the United States. The structure has been modified to reflect the planning meeting held on July 25th, 2018.

Scope of Services:
Services will be limited to summary advice and legal information. Assistance is available for the following tax issues:

- Disability tax credits/programs

- Spousal support

- Child tax benefits

- Small credits

- Housing credits

Clinic Intake and Service:
Potential clients can reach the Tax Dispute Clinic at CLASP’s main number (416 736 5029) during CLASP’s operating hours. The CLASP student answering the phone call will do a simple initial screening to verify income (suggested cut-off: $80,000.00/annum), legal subject matter and other details. If the client is eligible, the CLASP student will send an email to the Pro Bono Tax Clinic list-serv and schedule the client for an appointment on a Tuesday.

When clients come in, we will ask them to bring any tax bills, letter or notices from tax agencies and any related correspondence on hand. The interview will also confirm address, D.O.B. and current income (for eligibility/referrals). Students will also advise clients that although our service is free, all clients must pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as court filing fees, etc.,

Students will meet one-on-one (or two-on-one initially) with clients. Students will provide legal information and will sit in with a supervising lawyer as the lawyer provides summary advice to the client. Initially – unless otherwise agreed by all parties – no files are expected to be opened for clients.

Where written advice is required, students will speak with the supervising lawyer to confirm next steps. No letters will be sent by students or by the clinic without the express approval and due diligence required of the supervising lawyer.

Before and after each shift, and time permitting, lawyers and students will have a quick debrief about recent clients and tax law issues.

It is expected that a diverse range of other legal issues may arise while interviewing clients. Volunteer lawyers and PBSC students are encouraged to make the appropriate referrals using CLASP’s referral binder.

In addition to working at the clinic, students will spend time between shifts on assigned tasks related to running and building the Tax Clinic, including file management, developing community awareness, liaising with Schulich to explore areas for potential collaboration, and exploring expansion options for the project.

A limited number of drop-in clients will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis (space permitting).

Public Legal Education
CLASP receives requests from the community for PLEs. CLASP can advise community partners that the Tax Dispute Clinic can provide Tax Law PLEs.

The Tax Dispute Clinic students will work, under the supervisions of the supervising lawyer, to develop PLE materials and deliver PLEs in the community, should the opportunity arise.

How Many Students?

4 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake; Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

The students will be expected to show up for regular shifts weekly on Tuesdays (example of possible scheduling – 9:30 – 12:30 / 2:30 – 5:30). 2 students must be present for each shift.

Successfully completing or concurrently taking an introductory tax law course is a requirement.

Students who have already taken a Tax course will be given preference, otherwise a successful candidate must be taking it concurrently in the Fall.

Experience in a clinic setting, experience with tax law issues, experience with poverty law, experience with client intake/interviewing are preferred but not necessary.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Clinic will take place on Tuesdays at CLASP, located in Osgoode Hall Law School.

 

CLASP Scarborough Intake Project (*NEW*)

Among other areas of law, CLASP provides free legal assistance to low-income individuals facing criminal law issues related to summary charges. This project provides students with hands-on, transferrable skills in a busy, professional environment where they have the opportunity to interact with clients and the criminal justice system.

Successful candidates would be assisting CLASP with their intake process for criminal law matters. Specifically, each student would alternate between a weekly shift at the courthouse (INTAKE SHIFT) and at the clinic (CLINIC SHIFT). Both students will be on opposite schedules, meaning the week that one student is at the courthouse, the other student is at the clinic.

INTAKE SHIFT
Intake shifts would take place at the Scarborough courthouse located at 1911 Eglinton Avenue East on Mondays from 9:30am-12:30pm. During this shift, the student would be placed in a private office to conduct criminal law intakes with self-represented litigants looking for legal assistance with their criminal charges. The office is adjacent to another office, where a Criminal Division Leader from CLASP will be present and also conducting intakes. Once the student completes their shift, they will pass any completed intake applications and material to the Criminal Division Leader, who will bring them back to the clinic to be entered into the clinic’s system.

CLINIC SHIFT
For clinic shifts, students will attend the CLASP legal clinic at Osgoode and assist with pending criminal law applications. Students will conduct cursory reviews of criminal disclosure and the application form to highlight the pros and cons of why CLASP should accept the file. If the application is missing any components required for it to be assessed (i.e. ID, financial statements), the student will contact applicants directly to ensure those missing components are provided to the clinic in a timely manner.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Experience in client assistance/interviews is an asset but not required in order to be a successful candidate.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

For shifts taking place at the courthouse (1911 Eglinton Avenue E), students will be expected to conduct intakes from 9:30am-12:30pm on Mondays (excluding holidays).

For shifts taking place at the clinic, students will be expected to review pending criminal law intake applications on a day of the week determined in conjunction with the lawyer supervisor.

 

Community Legal Clinic of York Region

The Community Legal Clinic of York Region promotes access to justice and the elimination of poverty through legal representation, summary advice, referrals, public legal education and information, community development, and law reform.

Students will be involved in intake work such as scheduling appointments with clients and meeting with clients to gather information necessary to open a file at our clinic.  This will be primarily in the area of Social Assistance law which includes Ontario Disability Support Program (“ODSP’) Appeals and Ontario Works (“OW”) Appeals.  For example, students will ensure that clients sign authorization and direction (tribunal, medical practitioners etc.), and also gather information regarding the client’s medical conditions etc.  Students will also assist clients with filing appeals to tribunals and will draft disclosure requests to relevant organizations once the initial client interviews are completed.  Students will be drafting legal correspondence associated with ODSP and OW files. It is noted that the lawyers are taking carriage of the files. Students will work under the one-to-one supervision of a practicing lawyer.

Students may also conduct and produce research memos for case workers in the area of Social Assistance Law.

Students may also have the opportunity to participate in matters before the Social Benefits Tribunal. Further, they may also have the opportunity to attend Satellite Clinics and Shelters and provide legal information to clients under supervision by the supervising lawyer and/or partner organization.

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Any additional spoken languages will be considered an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Regular shifts (negotiated between supervisor and students) at 21 Dunlop St, Richmond Hill, ON.

 

DUKE Law

The DUKE Heights BIA’s primary objective is to promote the potential of the area, provide support to businesses in the area and inject new resources to tap into the potential of the community. DUKE was formed by connecting the two names, Dufferin and Keele, that mark the boundaries of the area, and Heights was added because the area is located at one of the highest points in the city of Toronto. The newly created community of Duke Heights BIA is positioned as the Height of Opportunities.

Building on the DUKE Law project, which is a free legal information project in partnership with Osgoode Hall Law School, the students will have an opportunity to work on the Outreach Project. This innovative online platform is designed to improve access to legal information for small business owners, employers, employees, and future entrepreneurs operating in the BIA who are in need of legal assistance but cannot necessarily afford a lawyer’s help. Through this initiative, Osgoode and DUKE Heights foster improvements for members of the business community and help them overcome the hurdles of access to legal information that many new business owners often face. The students’ research memos will support the content produced for this platform (i.e. online resources for new businesses, relevant corporate statutes).

The students may also be working on tasks which include interviewing entrepreneurial clients under supervision, gleaning what kind of legal information they are in need of (i.e. directing them to statutes pertaining to business regulations). The students will research their questions and provide legal information to these clients, after their work has been vetted by their supervisor, and direct their clients to publicly accessible resources (i.e. govt websites). They will also build public legal education materials, which will lead to outreach efforts later on when DUKE Heights connects with their community partners.

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in entrepreneurship, employment law, corporate law, labour law, contract law, and/or human rights law is preferred. Any additional spoken languages will be considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

The DUKE Heights BIA office at 2 Champagne Drive, Suite C9. The schedule is flexible, but regular shifts are preferred (each student would come in on a different day, except when planning/executing an event).

 

Family Law Project

The Family Law Project is the flagship project of PBSC. During the school year, we have several volunteers from UofT and Osgoode who assist self-represented litigants in 4 different courts across the GTA (Newmarket, Brampton, 47 Sheppard, and 311 Jarvis). The Family Law Project is an incredible opportunity for students to gain client-facing and legal drafting experience working with self-represented litigants in the fast-paced environment of the court. Furthermore, students work with clients who are over the income threshold for legal aid but cannot afford a lawyer, and are an active part of battling the access to justice crisis. The students help clients to fill out courts forms and with various tasks, including applying for custody, access, and child support, filing motions, drafting court orders, among other things.

Each student is placed in one of the following 4 courts for a weekly 3 to 4-hour shift.

  • 47 Sheppard Ave E (near Sheppard–Yonge Station)
  • 311 Jarvis St (east of Dundas Station, about a 10 – 15 minute walk)
  • Brampton Court (7755 Hurontario St, just north of the 407 on Hurontario St)
  • Newmarket Court (50 Eagle St W, at Eagle St and Yonge St, near the Upper Canada Mall and the Newmarket Go Bus Terminal)

How Many Students?

40 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Additional language fluency is an asset.  In addition to the PBSC General Training, must attend FLP-specific training sessions (Sept 25th @ 12:30pm, Sept 28th @ 8:45am-5pm).

NOTE: This is an Advanced Application! If you are interested in applying to the Family Law Project, please submit your entire PBSC application by Sept 10th at 12pm in order to be considered.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Various courthouses (listed above).

 

Family Law Project & Health Justice Program (FLP-HJP) Pilot

This pilot program aims to address the overlapping health and justice needs of our community. Recognizing systemic inequalities in our society and unfairness experienced by individuals living in poverty, we believe that the intertwined nature of health and justice issues affects the basic human rights of individuals with low income. In partnership with our patients, clients and community groups, we engage in direct service, legal education and law reform activities to fulfill our mission.

OVERVIEW – The Health Justice Program partners Neighbourhood Legal Services (NLS), Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS), ARCH Disability Law Centre (ARCH) and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) with St. Michael’s Hospital’s Academic Family Health Team (AFHT). This program embeds legal aid system navigation for low-income patients of the AFHT, along with targeted law reform activities and education for clinicians and legal partners on the intersections of health, poverty, and access to justice.

This program provides integrated legal information and system navigation at a key access point: through the AFHT, the Department of Community and Family Medicine serves approximately 50,000 patients in Toronto’s inner city. By providing in-house legal services to those patients living on low income, the HJP targets the most vulnerably-situated community members, to help stabilize clients facing crises and to help prevent cascading problems.

DIRECT SERVICE – The cornerstone of the HJP is the legal aid system navigation service we provide for patients of the AFHT. Clinicians (medical doctors, social workers, nurses, etc.) refer patients to our program who identify some kind of legal issue that is impacting their health. The 5 top social determinants of health with potential legal remedies that are referred to us are:
1. Stable and safe housing
2. Stabilization of parental access and child support in the context of family breakdown
3. Fair treatment at work
4. Ensuring good care for vulnerable adults with limited or declining capacity
5. Securing income including consumer debt matters

When a patient is referred to our program, our goal is to provide good legal information and connect patients with subject matter experts for legal advice and representation when needed. This requires in-depth legal triage, and an understanding of the suite of legal resources that are available and suitable for each unique situation.

 For family law matters, FLP-HJP students will assist with legal triage and accompanying clients to/from the HJP site, the family law courthouse at 311 Jarvis and/or the Family Law Service Centre at 20 Dundas St. West, to ensure vulnerable clients with health-related barriers get the legal consults they need, and to advocate where appropriate for legal aid coverage. Where vulnerable clients have not (yet) been able to access a LAO certificate, student tasks may involve note-taking for clients during the court navigation process; it may also involve attending court dates with clients for note-taking and/or moral support. Students will not provide family law PLI; they cannot provide legal advice.
 Students will use plain language to help clients navigate family court system, help clients organize or obtain medical and/or financial documents they may need for LAO certificate application;
 students may assist clients with a telephone application for LAO certificate application;
 any required student travel with client(s) will be paid for by HJP; and
 students will follow FLP-HJP policy and procedures for this project.

PBSC students working with the program would receive training on our intake and file closure procedures, i.e. use of clinic CIMS, navigating available resources and the Legal Aid Ontario system for clients, as well as our policies around confidentiality and conflicts in a multidisciplinary setting.

How Many Students?

1-2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Students must be available to attend part of the FLP Training on Sept 28th, 2019.

The Family Law course is an asset.

This is an equity seeking project. We welcome students who identify as belonging to disadvantaged groups. Students would ideally have experience working collaboratively with marginalized populations (especially low income and individuals identifying as having mental health disabilities) and some community outreach or engagement experience. Students would ideally also have experience working collaboratively with different stakeholders (e.g. Community members, frontline service providers, health care professionals and legal professionals).

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Students will volunteer with the St. Michael's Family Health Team, meeting clients at the organization and travelling with them to the 311 Jarvis Courthouse (or vice versa).

 

 

Family Law Rotation Project

The FLRP provides first year students at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall with the opportunity to gain unparalleled exposure to family law and experience working on family law files.

Background:

  • PBSC runs the Family Law Rotation Project (FLRP) in partnership with Epstein Cole LLP.
  • Epstein Cole LLP is the leading family law firm in Ontario and is the largest family law firm in Canada with 26 lawyers, all highly trained in family law. They represent and advise domestic and international clients on all family law and divorce issues including property division, support and child related matters.
  • PBSC has a long-standing partnership with Epstein Cole LLP. The firm provides PBSC with financial and other support (training, supervision, etc.) which has allowed us to enhance our work and programing in family law.

Project Structure:

  • The FLRP provides first year students at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall with the opportunity to gain unparalleled exposure to family law and experience working on family law files. The project consists of two components:
    1. Lunch-and-Learn Rotation & FLP Shadow Opportunity: During both semesters, students participate in a series of lunch and learn sessions at each of the five participating organizations: Epstein Cole LLP, Family Court Mediation, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, Office of the Children’s Lawyer, and Caskey Family Law. The lunches are structured events where students have the opportunity to interact with lawyers and gain insight into the different aspects of the family law and legal practice. Each student will be required to prepare insightful questions to ask at these events. The aim is to provide students with well-rounded exposure to various family law practice settings: private practice, legal clinic, mediation practice, government agency, and family court. The students will also be given an opportunity to shadow a Family Law Project (FLP) student during their shift at family court.
    2. Pro Bono / Low Bono Client Files: In September, Sheila matches students with family law practitioners who welcome the students into their firm and give the students an opportunity to experience the practice of family law first hand. Students will assist with one or more pro bono or low bono client files under the supervision of the practicing lawyer. The specific files on which students assist and the subsequent work assigned will vary based on the diverse caseload of participating lawyers. Students will also shadow the lawyer to observe the work and skills needed to successfully serve clients. By assisting on a pro bono file, students will donate their time to clients who may otherwise be without representation.

How Many Students?

4 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Applicants should have an interest in family law and access to justice.

Candidates must be available to attend the additional mandatory training session that the FLP students will be doing on Sept 25th from 12:30-2pm at Osgoode (NOTE: this means you must be available to attend the PBSC General Training on Sept 23rd at 12:30pm).

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Various locations (see above).

 

FCJ Refugee Centre

The FCJ Refugee Centre has a mandate to assist refugees and other uprooted people in re-establishing their lives and integrating into Canadian society. With an open door approach, the Centre offers an integrated model of refugee protection, settlement services and education, including shelter for women and their children.

The Uprooted People Protection Program provides legal information for refugee claimants and non-status people, including conducting research on country conditions and other immigration and refugee issues, assistance with filling out legal forms, conducting in-person sessions for people looking for legal information. Students in the upcoming year will focus their work on anti-human trafficking efforts, assisting victims who have been brought here for labour exploitation. In particular, students will assist these clients with completing their Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations applications.

Another unique aspect of this program is providing legal information specifically to people who have been denied their refugee claim but are unable to return to their own country. Students will meet directly with clients to help them complete their Basis of Claim forms, under supervision of the clinic’s staff lawyers

Students will also be given the opportunity to sit in on client meetings with people who are facing other immigration and/or refugee issues.

How Many Students?

5-6 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Additional languages are considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

One 4-5 hour shift/week, occurring on the same day (no weekends) every week at 208 Oakwood Avenue, Toronto, ON.

 

Greenwood Defence

Greenwood Defence provides regular, ongoing pro bono low income access to justice services. The students will be assisting in all the usual duties required of a law student or clerk working in a small practice such as theirs. Students will be involved in case management from an administrative perspective and may be asked to perform some preliminary client intake, as well as disclosure review. If a student is particularly trustworthy, the firm may have them appear in court for the purpose of an administrative adjournment.

Greenwood Defence will provide students with hands-on, transferrable skills and experience working in a busy law firm environment. Students will work entirely on legal aid or pro bono files which are almost exclusively criminal law files. The firm’s clients come to them via referrals from various social justice organizations such as the St. Michael’s Catch Team, the Duty Counsel offices throughout the province (mainly Toronto Region), and clients of well-known former lawyers who have been appointed to the bar, with a reputation for assisting on mental health cases. Their clients are some of the most vulnerable individuals facing criminal charges or addressing other matters affecting their personal liberty.

Greenwood Defence also occasionally assist at administrative tribunals, such as the Parole Board, various Review Boards, and the Criminal Injuries and Compensation Board.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Criminal Law courses are an asset. Criminal law experience is preferred (Defence work).

Applicants cannot have worked or be working for the Crown. Applicants should also refrain from applying if they have accepted a position with the Crown’s office.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

120 Carlton Street, Suite 2014, Toronto. Please note that the office is a scent-free space.

 

Jane-Finch Community Legal Services

Jane Finch Community Legal Services is a community legal aid clinic serving the Jane Finch community. Students will be trained to receive clients and interview clients on the details of their legal matters to assist in the progress of the file. Students will be asked to research legal issues and will also be asked to assist the legal workers in the management and closing of files.

The students may encounter work in the clinic’s various areas of service, which include (but are not limited to):

  • Tenant Rights
  • Ontario Works (OW)
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • Immigration
  • Citizenship
  • Employment Insurance (EI)
  • Statutory Declarations and Affidavits

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Where Will You be Volunteering?

One 4-hour shift/week (to be decided with supervisor) at 1315 Finch Avenue West, Suite 409, Toronto, ON.

.

JusticeNet

JusticeNet is a legal information and referral service that connects low to middle income individuals with lawyers, paralegals, and mediators, who are willing to reduce their fees to increase affordability. If someone does not qualify for legal aid and has a family income of less than $59,000, they are eligible for their service. Their access to justice program operates a call centre, which triages clients by identifying their problem and providing reduced fee referrals and applicable community resources. Under supervision, students on this project will assist with this referral service in order to increase access to justice.

JusticeNet will train students on how to assess the options available in the legal industry, applicable community supports, and how to identify legal jurisdictions for matters in order to best serve clients of their referral service.

How Many Students?

8-10 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Experience in, knowledge of or interest in criminal law, family law, administrative law and poverty law and/or bilingualism would be an asset. Additional languages are also considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

8185 Yonge Street, Thornhill, ON, L3T 2C6.

Students must select one 4-hour shift per week. Shifts are either 9am to 1pm or 1pm to 5pm.

 

Justice for Children and Youth

Justice for Children and Youth strives to protect and advance the legal rights and dignity of children and youth. Justice for Children and Youth seeks to increase our impact on the rights and dignity of children and youth by providing a deeper offering of sustainable community development, public legal education and direct legal services.

Students are expected to come into the office weekly for a 4-hour shift and provide legal assistance to staff lawyers with legal research, client communication and letter writing.

Although each student may get the opportunity to sit in on an intake meeting between a client and their supervisor, students will predominately be engaging in research based work on a broad range of topics. Examples of potential research topics may include child welfare, human rights claims, privacy matters, immigration matters, or administrative law matters.

All students are closely supervised and are given regular feedback on task performance. Each student will submit their research directly to their supervisor.

How Many Students?

2 to 3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Criminal law, family law, administrative law and/or poverty law knowledge is an asset.

Students are expected to work within a social justice, anti-oppression and children’s rights framework. Justice for Children and Youth is an inclusive and safe space. Students should be interested in legal research and have strong memo writing skills.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

55 University Ave, 15th Floor, Toronto, ON.

 

 

Law Society of Ontario (Internship) - Trustee Services

The Law Society of Ontario governs Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals in the public interest by ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who meet high standards of learning, competence, and professional conduct.

Trustee Services Department: this Department assumes the practices of licensees that have died, left practice, been revoked, etc. It is a very busy litigation department located at 393 University Ave. The student will be asked to research, do file review, draft affidavits, and there may be some client contact (ex. notifying clients that the department is taking over the practice).

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Preference given to students who have taken civil procedure and administrative law.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

393 University Avenue, Toronto, ON.

 

Lawyers Feed the Hungry - I.D. Project

Possessing photo identification is a necessity of modern day life. However, getting and keeping identification documents is a big challenge for many who are homeless or marginally housed. Although losing identification documents is only an inconvenience for some, for others this loss can mean being denied access to vital services. Without official identification, individuals cannot access many community services and programs. This barrier can create a domino effect that makes it increasingly difficult to address the conditions that lead to homelessness.

The ID Project is designed to address this challenge. PBSC now has ID Project locations in multiple cities across the country. This Lawyers Feed the Hungry project was the pilot location and continues to be one of our busiest.

Every Wednesday, a lawyer and two law students will attend the Lawyers Feed the Hungry dinner service at 130 Queen Street West. Volunteers will check-in at 4:45 pm and the clinic will run until 6:00pm. PBSC students will speak to clients, informing them of the program, how it works, and whom to speak with about ID applications. When clients ask to speak with a lawyer to fill out the appropriate documentation, PBSC students will make the introductions, sit in on the consultation with the lawyer, and help fill out applicable forms. Volunteer lawyers will then confirm eligibility requirements with the client and begin filling out the appropriate application forms for the ID sought by the client. Once the forms are complete, PBSC students will be responsible for making copies of the completed documents and recording project statistics.

It is expected that a diverse range of other legal issues may arise during the course of interviewing clients. Students will record the types of questions, issues and services raised by the clients throughout the year.

Volunteer lawyers and PBSC students are encouraged to make the appropriate referrals. In addition to working at the clinic, students will spend time between shifts on assigned tasks related to running and promoting the clinic, including file management, helping to build a referral binder, researching fee waiver options, and exploring expansion options for the project

In addition to the mandatory PBSC training, students will attend a training session specific to this project which will cover:
• Working with vulnerable populations
• Client intake and screening
• Interviewing skills
• Issue spotting
This training will be hosted by Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (199 Bay Street, Suite 4000, Commerce Court West) on October 7th, 2019 from 5:00-7:00pm.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Experience in a clinic setting and in poverty law, experience with client intake/interviewing, and an understanding of the intersecting factors related to poverty, discrimination and homelessness are considered assets.

Students committed to social justice and interested in doing front-line work with marginalized clients are encouraged to apply for this project.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

The clinic runs every Wednesday at 5pm (the student should arrive for 4:45pm) at the Law Society of Upper Canada cafeteria, 130 Queen St W.

 

 

Mahdi Weinstock LLP

Mahdi Weinstock LLP is a full-service Immigration and Refugee law practice aimed at providing reliable, tailored and cost-effective legal services.

Mahdi Weinstock LLP is a full-service Immigration and Refugee Law practice aimed at providing reliable, tailored and cost-effective legal services.

 

Mahdi Weinstock LLP is dedicated to providing law students with real and practical hands-on experience in the areas of immigration and refugee law.

 

Students are expected to come into the office weekly for one 4-hour shift (students will choose their shift at the beginning of each semester) and provide assistance to staff lawyers with legal research, client communication, and letter drafting under strict supervision. All students are closely supervised during all tasks and are given regular feedback on their performance.

Students will be working on a variety of pro bono immigration and refugee files, including sponsorship, humanitarian work, Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA), refugee and immigration appeals, express entry, and applications for judicial review. All work produced by the students will be reviewed by the lawyer supervisor.

Students who display the interest and ability may have the additional opportunity to attend and observe hearings conducted by staff lawyers. Students who opt to take on this opportunity may be able to offer additional assistance by preparing disclosure packages, under supervision.

How Many Students?

6-10 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Upper year students are preferred, but all students are welcome to apply. Candidates who have, or are taking, courses in immigration or refugee law will be given preference.

Any additional spoken languages will be considered an asset. Interest and/or experience in refugee and immigration law will be considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

A regular, weekly shift at the firm’s offices at 40 Eglinton Ave E, Suite 501, Toronto, ON.

 

Neighbourhood Legal Services (NLS)

NLS is a non-profit and independent community legal clinic that has been serving the community since 1973. The clinic provides free legal services and assistance to low income individuals who live within our catchment area and qualify for our services.

Students will come into the Neighborhood Legal Services clinic once per week on alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays for a 3-hour shift where they will perform client intake on Tuesdays (1-4pm) and draft an affidavit. Students will return the following Thursdays (10:30-1:30pm) to receive feedback on their writing and go through the signature process as well as address any issues that may arise at signing time. The affidavits will typically be related to testifying the applicant’s income for rent calculation in public housing. Students may also assist with statutory declarations related to the CRA, immigration, and OSAP. All affidavits and statutory declarations will be reviewed and approved by the supervising lawyer.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Candidates should possess an understanding and sensitivity to issues faced by the diverse communities that come through the clinic.

Upper year students are preferred, but first-year students are welcome to apply.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

163 Queen Street East, Toronto. The student volunteer will be expected to complete 3-hour regular weekly shifts alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays each week with the student volunteer from U of T (i.e. One Week -- Student A comes in on Tuesday, Student B on Thursday. Following week – Student B comes in on Tuesday, Student A on Thursday. Repeat.).

 

Prisoners HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN)

PASAN is the only community-based organization in Canada exclusively providing HIV and HCV prevention, education and support services to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. PASAN provides a wide range of support services, conducts outreach and education, and engages in systemic advocacy. See http://www.pasan.org/ for more information on the organization.

This PBSC project is designed to provide legal information relevant to inmates within provincial and federal prisons as well as ex-inmates who are clients of PASAN. Subject to the review and approval of the supervising lawyer, students will compile existing resources on the key issues (identified by PASAN staff) and supplement the resources with additional research, as necessary, in order to develop a full understanding of the issues and appropriate referrals.

This year, the students’ research will focus on two main areas:

  • The process of submitting grievances to the ombudsman. One of the biggest obstacles for Prisoners to obtain adequate health care and have their rights protected is the right for them to be able to submit their grievances in the first place.
  • The process that people in immigration holds have to go through and the steps that those individuals take to navigate the immigration system while incarcerated.

Other key issues may include: Gladue Principles, HIV disclosure, and/or criminal law process and terminology.

Beginning in the winter semester (January-March), the students will begin taking phone calls from inmates during a weekly clinic (occurring in-person on Tuesdays from 1-4pm, every week) and provide legal information on the designated key issue(s). The lawyer supervisor must be present for the students to take calls, and will provide oversight and guidance as required.

In addition to conducting research on the process of submitting grievances to the ombudsman, students will also be involved in this process. Under the close supervision of the lawyer supervisor, students will assist in transcribing grievance information into the appropriate grievance form. Students should transcribe information as close to verbatim as possible. Legal advice or representation cannot be provided through this clinic and callers who require legal advice must be instructed to contact their lawyer or a legal clinic.

Students will be expected to proactively continue their legal research throughout the winter semester in addition to their client calls, when time permits and as needed.

How Many Students?

1-2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Criminal Law is a prerequisite. Administrative law is an asset.

Applicants should have an interest in prison reform and prisoners’ rights.

Students with experience or education related to working with prisoners, people who use drugs, people living in poverty, sex workers and/or newcomers are encouraged to apply. A commitment to social justice is required. Skills in plain language communication are an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

The research portion of the project can be done remotely. When the clinic runs, it will happen weekly on Tuesdays from 1-4pm at 526 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON.

 

Pro Bono Ontario

Pro Bono Ontario’s mission is to bridge the gap between lawyers who want to donate their services, and low-income Ontarians whose legal problems aren’t covered by government agencies (e.g. Legal Aid, Children’s Lawyer and PGT). We implement this mission by:

  • Developing and directly managing pro bono programs that address unmet legal needs.
  • Providing strategic consulting services and tailored technical assistance to third parties engaged in the provision of organized pro bono projects.
  • Promoting the private bar’s role in the overall delivery of legal services in Ontario.

PBSC student volunteers attend the volunteer centre at 47 Sheppard (Small Claims Court) for set a.m. or p.m. shifts.  The centre is open Monday through Friday. During their shifts, students engage directly with clients and volunteer duty counsel.

Pro Bono Ontario allows unrepresented civil litigants access to legal information and support that they otherwise may not be able to access. Students gain intensive exposure to the practice of law and hands-on experience in civil litigation.

Law students may assist several clients during each shift and the assistance they provide will vary each day. PBO operates as a self-help centre and does not carry a file for a client; therefore, law students will not be assigned to a specific case.

A typical day for a law student at PBO may include the following responsibilities:

-              Conducting triage and interviewing clients;

-              Helping clients to identify legal issues;

-              Assisting clients at the computer kiosks;

-              Drafting court documents and correspondence to opposing counsel, under the                         guidance of a lawyer (if time permits);

-              Attending client meetings with lawyers (if time permits);

In some circumstances, under the direction of a lawyer, a law student may draft court forms for clients. A lawyer will always meet with a client before the law student begins drafting a document. The Project Supervisor, Intake Coordinator, or lawyer will review court forms for accuracy before they leave the centre.

Law students may also provide answers to procedural questions and direct clients to answers in PBO’s guidebooks, tip sheets and Ministry guides, under the supervision of PBO staff.

Note: Students must be available to attend the mandatory training session on (DATE TBD) in order to be matched with this project. The training session will be for PBSC volunteers from both Osgoode Hall and university of Toronto.

How Many Students?

10 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Punctuality and reliability; sensitivity in working with diverse clients; attention to detail; issue spotting skills.

NOTE: This is an Advanced Application! If you are interested in applying to the Pro Bono Ontario project, please submit your entire PBSC application by Sept 10th at 12pm in order to be considered. Also, you must submit a very brief supplemental application at http://www.probonoontario.org/pbsc by the same deadline.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Small Claims Court at 47 Sheppard Ave East, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON.

Students are expected to attend one 3-hour scheduled shift per week during the school year.  Students will be assigned to a shift by the PBO Volunteer Coordinator in September/October, and then again in January should changes to the students' schedules have occurred.

The shifts are: 9:30am – 12:30pm and 1:00 – 4:00pm, Monday to Friday.

 

Rainbow Railroad - Intake

In countries all over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBTI) people live in basic fear for their freedom, their safety and their lives. They often have nowhere to turn because their government and police not only tolerate but encourage this brutality. Rainbow Railroad exists to help these people get out of danger to somewhere safe. In the spirit of and with homage to the Underground Railroad, the mission of the Rainbow Railroad is to help LGBT people as they seek safe haven from state enabled violence, murder or persecution. We support, provide information, and help to arrange safe transportation for these LGBT people to somewhere in the world where they can live their lives in safety.

Rainbow Railroad receives hundreds of requests for help every year from countries where LGBT individuals are open targets of violence. Because the volume of requests is so high, we focus our efforts on assisting LGBT people who have faced physical violence or face an imminent threat of violence, imprisonment, or death. We have been successful in helping individuals from the Caribbean, Africa, South-Central Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East where we have local networks to support and validate cases.

Students will assist Rainbow Railroad staff with client intake, researching specific immigration-related legal questions in order to provide legal information, form filling, and gathering and compiling client legal documentation in support of Rainbow Road’s work in providing information to LGBT people on routes to safety and resources on seeking asylum, providing means for travel to safe countries in North America and Europe, and building relationships between them and settlement agencies once there.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Relevant educational/volunteer and/or work experience would be an asset. Those with personal lived experience that relates to the organization's clients are encouraged to apply – i.e. those with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions and/or those from regions where they work internationally (Caribbean, Africa, South-Central Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East).

Where Will You be Volunteering?

At the Rainbow Railroad offices located near Queen/Spadina (401 Richmond
Street West, Suite 360, Toronto, ON).

 

Refugee Law Office - Internship

The Refugee Law Office (RLO) is Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) refugee and immigration program. The RLO is internationally recognized for its legal services provided to people trying to enter or remain in Canada.

LAO’s Refugee Law Office represents clients for refugee claims, deportation appeals, humanitarian applications, pre-removal risk assessments, federal court proceedings, and more. They are experienced in human rights work and refugee advocacy.

Students will work directly with RLO staff on case files, including test cases, which may include refugee claims, pre-removal risk assessments (PRRA), humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) applications, temporary resident permits, applications for Ministerial Relief, detention reviews, deportation appeals, judicial review applications. Work may include:

  • legal and/or country of origin research, drafting submissions, Federal Court memos, affidavits and/or client narratives. All legal memoranda and draft submissions will be reviewed and approved by the supervising lawyer.
  • working directly with clients to help them prepare their case by way of gathering evidence and/or preparing testimony.
  • having opportunity to observe oral proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board and/or Federal Court.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Be enrolled in, or have completed, at least one course in refugee, immigration, and/or forced migration law and/or international human rights. A demonstrated interest and/or experience in human rights, immigration and refugee issues.

NOTE: This is an Advanced Application! If you are interested in applying to the Refugee Law Office Internship, please submit your entire PBSC application by Sept 10th at 12pm in order to be considered.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

20 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON.

 

Refugee Mock Hearing Program (*NEW*)

The 519 is committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ2S communities. A City of Toronto agency with an innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership, we strive to make a real difference in people’s lives, while working to promote inclusion, understanding and respect.

FALL TERM

  • The 519 Direct Services Team will schedule approx. 2 refugee mock hearings per week.
  • Each student will attend one mock hearing every 2 weeks. During the week preceding the mock hearing, the student will perform a detailed review of the claimant’s Basis of Claim form, which includes the claimant’s personal narrative. The student will also review country condition reports available in the IRB’s National Documentation Package. The student will also practice the introduction they will deliver at the mock hearing to explain the claimant’s procedural fairness rights and how the hearing unfolds, including the protocols and formalities that are followed.
  • At the mock hearing, the student will deliver the introduction mentioned above and then observe and take detailed notes of the claimant’s testimony while the lawyer supervisor plays the role of adjudicator.
  • After the mock hearing, the student, lawyer and claimant will debrief together.

 

WINTER TERM

  • The 519 Direct Services Team will schedule approx. 2 refugee mock hearings per week.
  • During the winter term, the student will play the role of adjudicator, and the lawyer supervisor will play the role of claimant’s counsel.
  • As in the fall term, each student will attend one mock hearing every 2 weeks. During the week preceding the mock hearing, the student will perform a detailed review of the claimant’s Basis of Claim form, which includes the claimant’s personal narrative. The student will also review country condition reports available in the IRB’s National Documentation Package. Under the guidance of the supervising lawyer, the student will identify all the relevant issues and prepare a list of detailed questions to pose to the claimant during the mock hearing.
  • At the mock hearing, the lawyer will deliver the introduction mentioned above. The student will play the role of adjudicator and pose questions to the claimant. The supervising lawyer, acting as counsel for the claimant, will then have the opportunity to pose further questions.
  • After the mock hearing, the student, lawyer and claimant will debrief together.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Ideally, students will have taken or will be enrolled in an immigration and refugee law course.

  • Assets include:
    • Experience in clinical, client-facing, and/or tribunal settings
    • Experience working with LGBTQ+ communities and survivors of trauma
  • Volunteers should be able to demonstrate ongoing and meaningful allyship with the LGBTQ+ / queer and trans communities.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

519 Church St, Toronto, ON.

 

 

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic

Rexdale CLC provides legal services to the low-income community of Northern Etobicoke, carried out by lawyers and community legal workers, including activities which encourage access to justice by our community.

Rexdale CLC has two distinct priority service areas. The students will assist with Priority A – Tenant Remedies as their primary objective but must be ready to shift to Priority B – Employment Issues, depending on demand.

Priority A Tenant Remedies:

The clinic experiences a demand for tenant remedies that its staff cannot meet.  Representation in tenant repair or abatement matters is very rarely given. Only information or advice is generally given. This project enables the clinic to expand its services to advice, form-filling and guided instruction for self-representation. Students will follow these steps, with the guidance of lawyers, paralegals, and our articling student:

  • Learn clinic’s client intake process by shadowing intake workers for the first two visits, learn clinic’s case selection criteria.
  • Perform research on completion of Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB) forms and processes, applicable statute law and regulations.
  • Meet with clients identified by clinic intake as needing support in seeking tenant remedies: First, meetings with clients will be assisted by clinic caseworkers. Later, the students will independently meet with clients and provide information on LTB processes and common procedures. Students will only be responsible for providing clients with legal information so that clients can adequately prepare themselves to self-represent at LTB and will not be assisting them with the details of their case directly. Any case-specific questions will be referred to one or both of the supervising lawyers.
  • Interview tenants, providing these case details to the clinic lawyers, and completing forms with tenants.
  • For repair applications, learn steps tenants should follow before filing application to document their claim, how to use Municipal Licensing inspectors, photography, etc.
  • Inform tenants on process for serving and filing forms and next steps.

Although all staff will assist in ensuring students have sufficient knowledge and information to complete their tasks, primary responsibility of oversight will rest with the lawyer supervisor.

Priority B – Employment or Other Issues

Our clinic gets requests for assistance with employment forms in matters that need assistance but not representation, or that have not yet exhausted avenues of self-represented review requests. These include Employment Insurance problems, Employment Standards claims and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board applications. Students will be asked to assist these clients, if there are no Priority A (LTB) clients to be assisted.

The training and preparation will be the same as those listed in Priority A, with the addition that students will be given an opportunity to know what statute or subject matter will be relevant for their scheduled client appointment. Students will have an opportunity to review the forms and procedural steps, either online or with a staff member, or both, before they meet the client. Our staff experienced in employment matters will be available to guide and supervise, however, as set out above, primary responsibility of oversight will rest with the lawyer supervisor.

The primary product of this project is actual client service with tenants, and hands-on problem solving and form-filling with individuals who would otherwise be on their own in their quest for access to justice. At no time will the students be providing legal advice in any of these endeavours.

Depending on client demand for either A or B, the student may have time to do research memos as requested by other caseworkers, and these could be on a variety of topics, not necessarily related to Landlord and Tenant work or Employment law.  Examples of potential research topics include:

  1. conducting legal research and producing internal memoranda on barriers that prevent tenants from getting fair treatment and accommodations that meet a reasonable standard, and what resources would improve the ability of tenants to access justice. This work will build a general awareness of the problem of the self-represented litigant, as it applies to all areas of law.
  2. Conducting legal research and producing internal memoranda comparing the conditions and remedies in private-market vs. public housing.

Given the significant volume of work identified in Priorities A and B, it is unlikely students will be required to complete additional work. However, if there are lulls in demand for Priorities A and B, students may assist with intake, research or form filling for Small Claims or immigration forms, to support the casework (other forms that may need to be filled out are Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) applications, Child Tax Benefit forms, etc. dependent on the clients that seek the clinic’s services). Should the student participate in clinic intake, hours will be scheduled upon mutual agreement, and a clinic lawyer will be present during the student’s shifts to supervise.

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

No, though any additional language would be an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Each student will organize a regular, weekly shift at 21 Panorama Court, Suite 24, Toronto, ON.

 

 

St. Michael's Hospital (Health Justice Program) - Client Intake Project

OVERVIEW - The Health Justice Program partners Neighbourhood Legal Services (NLS), Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS), ARCH Disability Law Centre (ARCH) and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) with St. Michael’s Hospital’s Academic Family Health Team (AFHT). This program embeds legal aid system navigation for low-income patients of the AFHT, along with targeted law reform activities and education for clinicians and legal partners on the intersections of health, poverty, and access to justice.

This program provides integrated legal information and system navigation at a key access point: through the AFHT, the Department of Community and Family Medicine serves approximately 50,000 patients in Toronto’s inner city. By providing in-house legal services to those patients living on low income, the HJP targets the most vulnerably-situated community members, to help stabilize clients facing crises and to help prevent cascading problems.

DIRECT SERVICE – The cornerstone of the HJP is the legal aid system navigation service we provide for patients of the AFHT. Clinicians (medical doctors, social workers, nurses, etc.) refer patients to our program who identify some kind of legal issue that is impacting their health. Throughout the fall 2018 – spring 2019 our program will be developing a focused screening tool in order to set priorities around the 5 top social determinants of health with potential legal remedies that are referred to us:

  1. Stable and safe housing
  2. Stabilization of parental access and child support in the context of family breakdown
  3. Fair treatment at work
  4. Ensuring good care for vulnerable adults with limited or declining capacity
  5. Securing income including consumer debt matters

When a patient is referred to our program, our goal is to provide good legal information and connect patients with subject matter experts for legal advice and representation when needed. This requires in-depth legal triage, and an understanding of the suite of legal resources that are available and suitable for each unique situation. Sometimes there is nowhere to refer, and that is when the HJP lawyer provides brief services or representation.

PBSC students working with the program would receive training on our intake and file closure procedures, as well as our policies around confidentiality and conflicts in a multidisciplinary setting. Students would conduct intake interviews with clients by phone or in-person and, in consultation with HJP staff, eventually connect clients to appropriate resources.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

HJP is an equity seeking project. They welcome students who identify as belonging to disadvantaged groups. Students would ideally have experience working collaboratively with marginalized populations (especially low income and individuals identifying as having mental health disabilities) and some community outreach or engagement experience. Students would ideally also have experience working collaboratively with different stakeholders (eg. Community members, frontline service providers, health care professionals and legal professionals).

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Regular, weekly shift at St. Michael's Hospital.

 

St. Michael's Hospital (Health Justice Program) - Wills and POA Clinic (*NEW*)

St. Michael's aim to address the overlapping health and justice needs of our community. Recognizing systemic inequalities in our society and unfairness experienced by individuals living in poverty, we believe that the intertwined nature of health and justice issues affects the basic human rights of individuals with low income. In partnership with our patients, clients and community groups, we engage in direct service, legal education and law reform activities to fulfill our mission.

Students will be paired with lawyers specializing in wills and estates law to draft wills, powers of attorney for property and personal care, and reporting letters for low-income individuals. Clients will be referred through St. Michael’s Hospital Family Health Team sites. Student volunteers will work one clinic shift each month and will gain experience in interviewing, drafting, and working with marginalized clients, with the guidance of an experienced estates lawyer. They will also engage in substantive learning regarding wills and estates.

In addition, student volunteers will research and organize public legal education (PLE) workshops on wills & estates. Students will schedule and present these workshops at local community organizations throughout the year.

How Many Students?

1-3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake / Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Preference will be given to those who have taken a course in wills and estates law.

Students must be comfortable working with vulnerable communities and be sensitive to intersecting vulnerabilities related to poverty, ill health and marginalization.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

TBD.

 

 

Survivors' Legal Support Clinic (Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape) (*NEW*)

The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (TRCC/MWAR) believes that survivors of sexual violence are experts in their own healing, thus the organization seeks to empower them to take an active role in that process. Survivors often face a plethora of legal issues related to the trauma they have endured, from family law issues to needing immediate assistance with housing applications.

To that end, TRCC/MWAR is piloting a brand-new legal clinic in partnership with PBSC Osgoode with the express intent of assisting survivors of sexual violence with their legal needs. Once a week or biweekly, students will sit in with walk-in or appointment-based clients and – sitting in with the supervising lawyer – offer assistance towards their legal matters.

Prior to the launch of the clinic, students will work with TRCC/MWAR on outreach to organizations across the GTA that support survivors of sexual violence, women, and organizations that support other impacted groups (i.e. trans-identified survivors). Students will explain the mandate of the clinic to these organizations, provide them with referral and/or advertising materials (which the students will create and which will be approved by the supervising lawyer), and work with TRCC/MWAR to establish a discreet and safe way for survivors seeking help to access the clinic’s services.

In the first year of this pilot project, students will focus exclusively on assisting survivors with completing the relevant forms for claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Since the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) will soon no longer accept applications due to changes in government policy, it is important to TRCC/MWAR that as many survivors as possible have the opportunity to file their claims before then. If a CICB claim is part of a survivor’s healing process, then the Survivors’ Legal Support Clinic wants to empower them to complete that process

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Experience with client intake/assistance is preferred but not required. An understanding of how to interact with clients facing sensitive issues is an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

There is flexibility in the period of time where outreach and preparations are being made for the launch of the clinic (students will work out an arrangement with the supervisor, which may be exclusively remote work).

When the clinic launches, regular shifts will occur at the same time every week (tentatively 10am-3pm).  The date of these clinic hours will be established in consultation with the organization supervisors, lawyer supervisor, and students. An evening session of the clinic may also occur infrequently, to be decided by the organization dependent on need.

 

The 519 Legal Clinic (*NEW*)

The Legal Clinic at The 519 provides free, confidential summary legal advice and referrals in a queer-positive, anti-oppressive environment.

Two students will assist in the operation of the Legal Clinic. They will be responsible for helping to set up the clinic and clean up after their shift. They will conduct brief initial interviews with clients (pre-screening) and collect relevant demographic information about our clients. The students will then observe and assist the lawyer(s) during the main client interviews. Tasks may involve research and drafting. The students will be responsible for the organization and maintenance of the clinic’s library of legal information. Both students will also work as a team to plan, research, and facilitate one to two public legal education seminars. Topics will vary but previously included divorce and separation processes, laws around child custody and visitation, as well as property division.

Students will also be required to attend biannual team meetings and contribute to the discussion.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Comfort working with marginalized, low income and LGBTQ individuals is important. It is an absolute requirement that the students be queer- and trans-positive.  The students must also have a non-judgmental attitude towards people with mental health and addiction issues.  Experience working within an anti-oppression framework is an asset.

Knowledge of poverty law (social assistance, employment law, health law, landlord-tenant) would be an asset, as would strong interviewing skills.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Weekly shifts every Thursday from 6:00-9:00pm at 519 Church Street, Toronto, ON.

 

 

Trans I.D. Clinic 

SKETCH is a Toronto-based organization that engages young people through the arts who are navigating poverty, homelessness, and living on the margins. The 519 is committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ2S communities. A City of Toronto agency with an innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership, we strive to make a real difference in people’s lives, while working to promote inclusion, understanding and respect.

Project Background

  • The Trans ID Clinic is one of PBSC’s nation-wide initiatives. The program was piloted in Toronto with SKETCH Working Arts and Blakes and now runs in partnership with other local organizations in Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor and Fredericton.
  • The Trans ID Clinic provides free legal information, form-filling services and referrals in a learning space that strives to be trans-positive, non-judgmental, anti-oppressive and inclusive.
  • PBSC law student volunteers and lawyers from Blakes work collaboratively to assist trans and gender diverse individuals with obtaining new pieces of identification. SKETCH and The 519 have dedicated funds to provide financial assistance to clients in order to cover the cost of application fees.
  • During our inaugural year (2017-18), we received overwhelmingly positive client feedback, with 94% of clients describing the experience as helpful. PBSC also received exciting news coverage that brought much-needed attention to the project. HuffPost Canada published an article spotlighting the Clinic and highlighting the systemic barriers that trans individuals face when they seek to obtain accurate ID. Xtra produced a video focusing on the journey of one of the Clinic’s clients, Octavius, a 20-year-old artist from Toronto. The video follows Octavius as they navigate life, art, and the process for obtaining ID that correctly reflects their name. Octavius explains that, “being able to take control of how my name makes me feel is really empowering.”
  • In the fall of 2018, the Trans ID Clinic was nominated for the prestigious Canadian Pro Bono Award.

How the Clinic Runs

  • The students and lawyers arrive at 5:30pm to set up clinic and take part in a “pre-brief” meeting with SKETCH / The 519 staff.
  • When clients arrive, they are greeted by SKETCH/The 519 staff/volunteers who act as “hosts” during clinic hours. The hosts ensure that clients are warmly welcomed into the space and offer to connect clients with other resources/programs (ex. SKETCH sometimes offers tours of the art studios on the lower level during client wait time; The 519 operates “Meal Trans” offering free meals the same evening as Clinic).
  • Clients are asked to sign in and complete the first page of the Client Intake Form (mandatory) and the Demographics Form (optional).
  • The students and lawyers divide into two teams (one student and one lawyer per team, each team in one private room).
  • At 6pm the first two clients are called in to be seen by the respective teams:
    • The students and lawyers introduce themselves (name and pronoun) and wear a nametag with this information;
    • The student explains the Clinic’s mandate, asks the client to sign the waiver form;
    • The student conducts intake and together with the lawyer identifies all issues that need to be addressed;
    • The student and lawyer assist the client with issues identified;
    • The student asks the client to fill out the feedback form and financial assistance form before leaving.
  • Meanwhile, the third student—the Volunteer Coordinator (VC)—reviews the Client Intake Forms that the remaining clients have filled out.
    • The VC will conduct a brief intake with each client, asking the client to sign the waiver form and identifying all issues that need to be addressed. The VC will print the necessary applications/forms.
    • Once each client has been seen by the VC for the brief initial intake, the VC will return to the third person on the sign-in sheet and begin assisting the client with issues identified in order to prepare them to see the lawyer / student teams.
  • Once the students and lawyers have met with their first clients, the VC will bring in the third and fourth clients (and so on).
    • At times, there are clients who only require a brief meeting with the lawyer (to have their application commissioned, for example). The VC will determine whether or not there is time for these clients to be seen earlier in the evening for a brief meeting with the lawyer, moving them ahead on the sign-in sheet. This is up to the discretion of the VC.
  • During the last 15-20 minutes, the students, lawyers and staff debrief and file away paperwork.
  • Students upload statistics using the SurveyMonkey link provided

Student Tasks / Deliverables

  • Students will have an opportunity to carry out the following legal/advocacy work:
    • Client intake / interviewing
    • Issue spotting
    • Form-filling
    • Legal information & referrals
    • Legal drafting and written advocacy (affidavits)
  • Students are also expected to manage several administrative tasks, including but not limited to:
    • File management
    • Recording statistics and collecting client feedback
    • Updating the project manual as needed (ex. researching new trans-friendly referrals)
    • Reflection meetings (ex. pre-brief and debrief meetings)

Students may also have the opportunity to conduct a PLE workshop / information session relating to the name change and gender marker change process

How Many Students?

1-2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Students must be able to attend the mandatory training at Blakes on October 3rd, 2019 from 5:30-8:30pm.

NOTE: This is an Advanced Application! If you are interested in applying to the Trans ID Clinic, please submit your entire PBSC application by Sept 10th at 12pm in order to be considered.

Priority given to trans and gender diverse students. Volunteers selected should be able to demonstrate ongoing and meaningful allyship with the trans community.

At least two of the following would be considered an asset: admin law, human rights law, poverty law, clinical placements.

Assets include:
o Experience working with trans folks, youth, LGBTQ+ communities
o Front-line / clinical experience
o Social work background
o A strong sense of anti-oppression principles

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Clinic dates will be split between SKETCH (180 Shaw St, Toronto, ON) and The 519 (519 Church St, Toronto, ON ). Clinic dates will be split between some Mondays and Wednesdays, occurring from 5:30-9:30pm.

 

 

Wills Project

The Wills Project is a longstanding PBSC project run between the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall. Originally, the Project focused on serving low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Although PBSC continues to be committed to serving this community, the Project expanded in 2011-2012 to include Aboriginal peoples, and low-income individuals generally. The Project’s goal is to provide legal services that relate to estate planning for low income individuals and provide students with the opportunity to offer client services in the estate planning field.

PBSC student volunteers are paired with lawyers specializing in wills and estates law to draft wills, powers of attorney for property and personal care, and reporting letters for low-income individuals. Clients are referred to the project by community organizations.

Most student volunteers will work with two clients over the course of the year (one each semester). Students gain experience in interviewing, drafting and working with marginalized clients, with the guidance of an experienced estates lawyer.

In addition, the volunteers will partake in 1 of 2 Public Legal Education sessions. The students will visit a designated community centre, where they will present a PowerPoint presentation on estate law and help recruit potential new clients. One session will run in November (date TBD), and the other in March (Friday March 20th, 10am-12pm).

Students volunteering on this project will gain practical experience in drafting and in client interviewing and engagement, in addition to substantive learning regarding wills and estates.

Applicants should note that the mandatory training session will take place on October 4th from 1:30-5:30pm at the Fogler Rubinoff offices.

How Many Students?

10-12 students

What kind of Project?

Client Intake & Assistance / Research & Writing / Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in wills and estates law. Flexibility to attend client meetings at times and locations convenient for the lawyer supervisor and client. Sensitivity to intersecting vulnerabilities related to poverty, ill health and marginalization.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is mostly a remote project, with meetings at various lawyer supervisors' offices or alternative locations occurring as required.