Research and Writing

Research and writing are both skills that are essential in the practice of law. PBSC Osgoode offers a diverse range of placements in the area of research and writing, which allows students to meaningfully engage with legislation and case law. Volunteers will gain experience through involvement in legal research, policy research, letter writing, and client correspondence. There will also be opportunities to draft submissions and memoranda pertinent to a particular case.

List of Projects

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI.ca)

Kelly & Co. is a weekly 2-hour broadcast that reaches 3k-5k people each week, featuring interviews and discussions about arts, entertainment and lifestyle issues. The student volunteer will support production of the Kelly & Co. broadcast by conducting legal research and producing brief legal research memos. Once legal research memos are reviewed and approved by the supervising lawyer and organization contact, legal information contained within these memos will be disseminated publicly via the broadcasts.

Information on the broadcast and topics can be found at https://www.ami.ca/category/kelly-and-company .

The project will engage a law student in research about current legal issues that pertain to people living with disabilities in Canada. Particular focus will be on new federal legislation, as well as that of Ontario. The successful candidate will have an interest in the rights of people with disabilities and also be able to perform both legal and non-legal research. Lived experience is an asset, but not required in order to be successful.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Preference will be given to people who live with a disability, particularly low vision or blindness, as the broadcaster targets this audience. If there are no such candidates, familiarity with disability issues would be an asset.

 

Battista Smith Migration Law Group (*NEW*)

The immigration landscape in Canada has become increasingly complex and urgent. Most often, diverse communities are the groups that are the most concerned about international mobility. In particular, Battista Smith Migration Law Group champions immigration issues for the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities.

Students will assist Battista Smith with their pro bono and/or legal aid-funded cases pertaining to LGBTQ+ refugee claims and court applications. Students will research human rights reports from particular countries around the world and analyze a case’s relevant documentation to create their “theory of a case.” The student’s research and analysis will be submitted to the lawyer supervisor for review, effectively and prominently contributing to the progression of these LGBTQ+ refugee claim cases. Students may also assist with drafting documents for Federal Court applications.

In addition to casework, the students will also be asked on occasion to produce blog posts for the Battista Smith Migration Law Group website.  These posts will cover a range of issues but will mostly pertain to plain-language information on recent changes to immigration and refugee law.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in immigration and refugee law is preferred. Applicants should be queer positive, given the subject matter of the work.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project. Should the students decide to attend the firm in-person, space may be available for them on an ad hoc basis.

 

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) - Research (*NEW*)

Butterfly was formed by sex workers, social workers, legal and health professionals. It provides support to, and advocates for, the rights of Asian and migrant sex workers. The organization is founded upon the belief that sex workers are entitled to respect and basic human rights. Butterfly asserts that, regardless of their immigration status, Asian and migrant sex workers should be treated like all other workers.

The City of Toronto is currently in the process of reviewing its bylaws on body-rub parlours (https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/permits-licences-bylaws/body-rub-parlour-and-body-rubber/body-rub-parlour/). Butterfly and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network would like 1 student to conduct legal research on body-rub parlour bylaws and policies in Toronto and other cities across Canada (i.e. Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa), compare how body-rub parlours are regulated in these different jurisdictions, and produce a memo on their findings so that both organizations can make appropriate recommendations to the city of Toronto. Some of the questions the student may seek to provide insight on are whether these bylaws are valid, compliant with human rights legislation, or if they endanger the lives of parlour workers.

The student will also help to draft a submission to the city of Toronto on the bylaw review. All submissions and research memos will be reviewed by the supervising lawyer before being provided to the partnering organization.

As they conduct their research, students will have the opportunity to attend online meetings and participate in the organizations’ consultation meetings that directly address this issue.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in immigration and refugee law is preferred. Applicants should be queer positive, given the subject matter of the work.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is a remote project. On occasion, the student may have to attend consultation meetings at locations to be determined by the supervisor.

 

Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT) (*NEW*)

The Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (“The Centre”) is a community-based organization that helps victims of torture, war, genocide and crimes against humanity. They provide treatment, tools and support that allow refugees to heal from trauma and become active community members.

Recently, around 30% of Legal Aid Ontario’s provincial allocation budget was cut by the current government. These cuts amount to approximately $133 million, impacting legal organizations across the province and thereby impacting low-income individuals across Ontario.

The Centre serves a diverse population of new immigrants and persons seeking to make refugee claims, amongst others. The cuts brought on by Ontario’s provincial government will severely impact their client base’s ability to access the services necessary to complete their claims or documentation. The Centre would like 1-2 students to research, draft, and complete a comprehensive memoranda for the Centre that assesses the impact of these budget cuts on the communities that CCVT serves, as well as its impact on other marginalized communities as a whole.

Specifically, the student(s) will begin their research by examining the historical background of the LAO’s financial contributions and how they supported immigrants and refugees’ access to justice (in particular victims of torture, war, genocide, and crimes against humanity). Then, the student(s) will research and analyze the impact of the cuts based on new data and articles that have been recently published in response. The outcome of the report is to demonstrate how vital LAO’s funding was to promoting access to justice and essential services for immigrants, refugees, and other marginalized communities.

The Supervisor and Executive Director will provide guidance on where they student(s) should begin their research and will meet with the student(s) monthly to guide their work. Students are encouraged to research how these cuts made by the current government impact other equity-seeking groups that intersect with immigrants and refugees (i.e. those who flee persecution, such as women or LGBTQ+ persons) and include these findings in the report.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing (Law Reform)

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in immigration and refugee law is an asset, but not required.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is a mostly a remote project. Once a month, students will visit The Centre (194 Jarvis St, 2nd floor, Toronto, ON) to meet with the Executive Director to update them on their progress.

 

 

Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCTEHT)

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (“the Centre”) is a national charity dedicated to ending all types of human trafficking in Canada. Their mission is to end human trafficking for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation in Canada by providing strength and support to stakeholders through collective action, by creating opportunities to connect and learn from each other and by building capacity, on all levels, to end this abhorrent crime in Canada.

While the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has received some attention in relation to its intersections with labour trafficking in Canada, there has been little political, media, or research attention paid to other visa types within the context of human trafficking (HT) in Canada.

In attempt to build a better internal understanding of available visas in Canada, and potential vulnerabilities that visa types have in propagating human trafficking, PBSC students will undertake a legal analysis of all visa types, categories and policies in Canada.

PBSC students will be asked to apply a framework developed in partnership with The Centre to conduct the research and analysis.

Potential research questions may include:

  • What are the various types of visas that are issued in Canada?
    • What are their specifics? E.g. purpose, time limits, allowable and non-allowable activities (i.e. education, working), open vs. employer or purpose specific, eligibility requirements, etc.
  • For each type of visa, who or how may people be vulnerable to human trafficking?
    • Are source sectors known to perpetuate vulnerabilities to HT?
    • What degree or risk of exploitation exists in source sectors already?
    • Are there any protections or support systems already in place in source sectors that could mitigate against HT vulnerabilities?

Once this research is reviewed and approved by the supervising lawyer, this information may be used by The Centre for multiple purposes which include:

  • Inform data analysis through the hotline, and support the development of human trafficking taxonomies in Canada
  • Inform an advocacy and/or partnership strategy with Service Canada to develop public awareness or interventions targeted toward people arriving to Canada through visas identified as high risk for trafficking
  • Build better internal knowledge about complexity of Canadian immigration system and visas

The students should have an open analytical mind to identifying areas of potential labour trafficking and exploitation. The specific research that the students will conduct will evolve as they learn more about the subject matter and discern which research routes will be most lucrative. Students will be in contact with the Centre staff throughout the year to report on their findings and discuss the direction they are taking their research in, however all final products will undergo a review by the supervising lawyer before being provided to the Centre.

The student will work under the supervision of a lawyer from Dentons LLP.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Recommended preparation (assets): Administrative Law, Human Rights Law, Criminal Law, Immigration Law.

Student volunteers ought ideally to have experience or demonstrated interest in equity initiatives and a good understanding of the systemic issues and barriers facing diverse communities interacting with law enforcement agencies and officials.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is mostly a remote project. The student will be expected to attend ad hoc scheduled meetings in person at the organization.

 

 

Canadian Civil Liberties Association - Research Project

CCLA fights for the civil liberties, human rights, and democratic freedoms of all people across Canada. We are an independent, national, nongovernmental organization, working in the courts, before legislative committees, in classrooms and in the streets, protecting the rights and freedoms cherished by Canadians and entrenched in our Constitution.

Students will be asked to conduct legal research and prepare memoranda on various topics by the CCLA’s Program Directors. This may include case briefs, reviews of draft or proposed legislation, policy reviews and research memoranda on fundamental freedoms, police powers, national security, equality and civil liberties public education.

Examples of past work undertaken by our student volunteers includes, for example:
A memo on a decision that is going up on appeal. The memo sets out the underlying facts and legal arguments raised before the lower courts, analysis of the issues addressed, discussion of the positions taken and what position CCLA might take, and what outstanding issues CCLA may contribute as an intervenor.
A memo on new legislation (including amendments) looking at what civil liberties issues the bill raises.
Students are frequently asked to conduct research looking at academic literature and other sources with respect to the issues raised.

All legal research and memoranda will be approved by the supervising lawyer prior to use by the partnering organization.

Students will have to attend a mandatory training session with CCLA on Sept 27th, 2019 from 10am-2pm at 900 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 900.

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

CCLA is looking for upper year students who have completed a course on constitutional/public law (i.e. State & Citizen), and who have expressed an interest in CCLA and/or fundamental rights and freedoms.

Fluency in French is considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Students can work remotely or work at the organization as required.

 

 

Canadian Civil Liberties Association - Rights Watch Blog

CCLA fights for the civil liberties, human rights, and democratic freedoms of all people across Canada. We are an independent, national, nongovernmental organization, working in the courts, before legislative committees, in classrooms and in the streets, protecting the rights and freedoms cherished by Canadians and entrenched in our Constitution.

Students will be assigned a particular Canadian jurisdiction to monitor and will do so by reviewing significant reports by rights-protecting and other public bodies. We anticipate assigning students to a province or territory, and might also include the federal jurisdiction and possibly some larger municipalities.

CCLA has been compiling a list of links to reports that may be relevant to our mandate. This includes reports from the various jurisdictions’ information and privacy commissions, human rights commissions, auditors general, ombuds, police review office, correctional investigator. Students will be assigned a jurisdiction and provided with at least one report to review. Depending on the length/complexity of the report, students may be assigned more than one report right at the outset. Students are asked to review the report(s) and provide CCLA with a memo (5-7 pages maximum) summarizing the key civil liberties issues that are raised in the report. There will be a deadline for submission of this first memo and students will be asked to categorize the memos according to CCLA program areas and “tag” the memos with relevant keywords. We are still considering the best method for submission of memos (i.e. whether there is a software solution that may be preferable to submission of word docs by email).

CCLA may request further research on a particular topic related to the report or may provide the student with a different report to review and summarize as in step 4 above. The purpose of these memos is to allow CCLA to monitor key civil liberties issues in all jurisdictions across the country and consider issues and areas for future advocacy and/or litigation

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in civil liberties, government accountability, the rule of law and CCLA’s various program areas.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Students will work remotely and can manage their time as they see fit. There will be deadlines set for submission of the first memo and any subsequent work.

 

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (*NEW*)

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”) promotes the human rights of people living with, at risk of or affected by HIV or AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, litigation and other advocacy, public education and community mobilization. They envision a world in which the human rights and dignity of people living with HIV or AIDS and those affected by the disease are fully realized and in which laws and policies facilitate HIV prevention, care, treatment and support.

The project will be divided into two distinct research topics; the student can either tackle one research topic per semester, or work on both concurrently throughout their placement.

TOPIC #1 Sub Judice Rule – Jamaica & Dominica

The term sub judice means "under judicial consideration". The sub judice rule is part of the law relating to contempt of court. The rule governs what public statements can be made about ongoing legal proceedings before, principally, the courts. When applied in an unnecessarily broad fashion, however, advocates are prevented from commenting on important public interest issues and cases or engaging in other forms of extra-legal advocacy.

Research on this topic would stem from the fact that the Legal Network has two current court cases in Jamaica and Dominica where they have challenged laws that criminalize same-sex intimacy in those countries. The organization seeks to determine whether they and the litigants in each country are restricted from publicly commenting on issues surrounding this case (i.e. in the media).

The student will research sub judice jurisprudence in Jamaica, Dominica and Canada (for a comparative analysis, since courts in the Caribbean Commonwealth tend to look at Canadian jurisprudence). Students may also engage in comparative research within the UK should time allow. Their findings will be encapsulated in the form of one research memo summarizing their findings.

TOPIC #2: HIV Criminalization – Africa

Organizations that have opposed HIV criminalization in Africa have generally focused on concerns with the overbroad and unjust criminalization of HIV exposure, non-disclosure and transmission in the context of consensual adult sexual relationships and the criminalization of “vertical transmission” (i.e. exposure of HIV between women living with HIV and children). Insufficient work has been developed, however, to consider to what extent the arguments against HIV criminalization are applicable or ought to be distinguished in the context of non-consensual sexual conduct. As a result, the issue of HIV criminalization in the context of sexual violence has tended to either be avoided or inconsistently addressed in advocacy. This is an important gap given that concerns around sexual violence and gender-based violence appear to underlie the discourse on HIV criminalization.

Objectives

This project seeks to undertake research on sexual violence and HIV criminalization in Africa with the following objectives:

  1. To better understand the link between sexual violence and HIV criminalization in Africa.
  2. To understand the extent to which arguments against HIV criminalization are or ought to be applicable in the context of the application of the criminal law in cases of sexual violence implicating HIV exposure, transmission or non-disclosure.

The purpose of this research is to provide context that will guide and inform advocacy in the region and enable more nuanced messaging and positioning on HIV criminalization that takes into account the reality of HIV transmission or exposure in the context of sexual violence in Africa and the necessity to safeguard protections against sexual violence while responding to unjust HIV criminalization.

Research Questions

  1. What is the empirical link between HIV and sexual violence, particularly against women and children in Africa?
  2. What is the discursive link between sexual violence and HIV criminalization in Africa?
  3. What laws exists and how are they being applied at the national level in Africa to address HIV exposure or transmission in the context of sexual violence?

The student will undertake an analysis of case law and legislation in Africa, several of which will be in French, and produce their findings in the form of research memos.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

A background or interest in human rights and criminal law would be an asset.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

 

Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) - Research (*NEW*)

CERA works to advance housing security and human rights in housing for tenants, and to promote the human right to housing across Ontario. We defend housing rights and human rights by providing direct services to marginalized Ontarians; educating individuals and communities; and, advancing progressive and inclusive housing law and policy.

Over the course of the year, students will provide research support for questions that CERA receives through their telephone support line that serves renters facing human rights violations in their housing and eviction. In addition, students will conduct research and produce a detailed research memo each on one of the following topics:

  • The relationship between the application of condominium law and landlord / tenant law, including the way in which the Residential Tenancies Act interacts with the Condominium Act. Many renters in Ontario are renting from individuals who own units in condominiums, which often have rules that conflict with the obligations in the Residential Tenancies Act. The research memo should focus on identifying those areas and articulating how tribunals and/or courts have dealt with the intersection of these two areas of law. This will involve a review and analysis of relevant legislation and jurisprudence and drafting a memo that outlines research findings.

 

  • A legislative and jurisprudential scan of the legal framework for human rights in housing as applied to equity-seeking and indigenous groups including youth, persons with disabilities, seniors, women, LGBTQ and other populations. This will involve a review of relevant jurisprudence, summarizing appropriate cases and providing an overarching analysis of jurisprudential trends.

 

  • An overview of how the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario disposes of cases involving housing rights in recent years, as well as the treatment of human rights issues in matters heard before the Landlord and Tenant Board when they are raised. This would involve a review of relevant cases, summarizing them and providing an overarching analysis of the findings.

 

  • The application of the Residential Tenancies Act and its interpretation in the context of supportive housing providers for persons with mental health disabilities. This would involve a review of relevant legislation and jurisprudence and drafting a research memo summarizing the findings.

 

  • The treatment by courts and tribunals of cases in which persons with disabilities have requested accommodations for disabilities in housing and, in particular, what types of accommodations have been found to be reasonable in the context of the undue hardship threshold and which have not. This would involve a review of relevant jurisprudence and drafting of a research memo summarizing the findings to provide insight into both appropriate remedies and the consideration made by the courts / tribunals in determining what is appropriate.

 

  • A review of the exemptions under the Residential Tenancies Act, including the policy rationale for them and the impacts on the affected populations. This would involve a legislative, jurisprudential and policy review, and the drafting of a research memo summarizing findings.

 

  • A review of the implementation of a right to housing in comparative and international jurisdictions [specific jurisdictions to be determined in consultation with the student]. This would involve a review of legislation, jurisprudence and policy and the drafting of a research memo summarizing findings.

Students will develop skills in the following areas:

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Teamwork
  • Professionalism
  • Housing law

How Many Students?

4 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

 

EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust

EGALE works to improve the lives of LGBTQI2S people in Canada and to enhance the global response to LGBTQI2S issues. EGALE will achieve this by informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion through research, education and community engagement.

One of the most neglected groups in the LGBTQI2S+ community are seniors. There are few resources available to them to assist them as they plan for end of life. EGALE has developed and compiled a resource for supporting end-of-life planning for older LGBTQI2S+ adults that focuses on issues such as the individual’s rights in home care and in long term care, wills and estates and powers of attorney and medical assistance in dying in Ontario.

 

EGALE would like to create and offer a similar resource to the LGBTQI2S+ communities in British Columbia and Alberta who need access to such critical information, entitled “Crossing the Rainbow Bridge – A Resource Supporting End-of-Life Planning.” Using the Ontario resource as a guide, students will conduct legal research into the laws, policies, and practices in British Columbia and Alberta law to create public legal education resources pertaining to each province. All material will be reviewed in detail by the lawyer supervisor prior to dissemination.

These resources will cover topics such as human rights, rights in care, consent, power of attorney, tax law, law pertaining to advanced care planning, estate planning, mental health support, HIV/AIDS resources, and more.

This endeavour will help thousands of older LGBTQI2S+ adults at vulnerable times in their lives.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research  & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in social justice and public interest law. Students should be queer positive, given the subject matter.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

55 University Avenue, Suite 1500, Toronto, ON.

 

Hamilton Community Legal Clinic

Hamilton Community Legal Clinic is a community based not for profit agency whose diverse team of caring professionals and volunteers provides legal services to low income individuals and communities to promote access to justice and to improve quality of life. They do this through: summary advice and referral, representation, community development, law reform and public legal education

Students will conduct legal research and produce memos on their findings on one of the following research questions (one student per question):

#1: Question: What legal framework applies to a tenant of a non-profit housing provider if it ceases to be a Designated Housing Project under the Housing Services Act, 2011?

Public funding agreements have and may end for non-profit housing providers currently subject to the Housing Services Act. That Act contains requirements for non-profits to follow should a dispute arise, such as eligibility for housing or the amount to be charged in rent. What are the implications of a non-profit ceasing to be subject to the Act?

#2: Question: How do other provinces deliver legal aid services regarding food and shelter issues?

Ontario’s Legal Aid Services Act currently identifies “clinic law” as a distinct practice area: s.14 (3):The Corporation shall provide legal aid services in the area of clinic law having regard to the fact that clinics are the foundation for the provision of legal aid services in that area:

“clinic law” means the areas of law which particularly affect low-income individuals or disadvantaged communities, including legal matters related to,

(a) housing and shelter, income maintenance, social assistance and other similar government programs, and

(b) human rights, health, employment and education;

How do other provinces address these needs and, if they had but have since stopped, has there been any assessment of the impact of the withdrawal of such legal services?

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project. If the student would like to attend the clinic (100 Main Street East, Suite 203, Hamilton, ON), they should make arrangements with the supervisor.

 

Law Society of Ontario (Internship) - Office of the Executive Director (*NEW*)

The Law Society of Ontario governs 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.

Office of the Executive Director: This department coordinates, oversees, and supports the functions of the Professional Regulation Division. This division is responsible for responding to complaints against licensees, including the resolution, investigation and prosecution of complaints which are within the jurisdiction provided under the Law Society Act. In addition the Professional Regulation Division provides trusteeship services for the practices of licensees who are incapacitated by legal or health reasons. Professional Regulation also includes the Compensation Fund which compensates clients for losses suffered as a result of the wrongful acts of licensees.

The student would be supporting the work of the department by conducting research on case-specific issues or on broader policy issues and may be involved in conducting case analysis / summary work.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

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

Where Will You be Volunteering?

393 University Avenue, Toronto, ON.

 

 

Law Students' Society of Ontario (LSSO)

The Law Students’ Society of Ontario is an advocacy body representing undergraduate (JD) law students at Ontario law schools. Their goal is to articulate student needs and concerns to the organizations that govern the legal profession, the universities that administer legal education, and government bodies that regulate post-secondary education and financial aid.

The LSSO’s general objectives include:

  • Building relationships with governmental and regulatory stakeholders;
  • Establishing a dialogue with law school administrators;
  • Sharing best practices among law school student governments;
  • Providing opportunities for law students to communicate and share their experiences and struggles at law school;
  • Advocating for policies that reduce financial and non-financial barriers to accessing and completing legal education; and
  • Promoting representativeness and diversity in law school classrooms and the legal profession.

The students will assist the LSSO in a legal research-based capacity, with upcoming projects focusing on access to justice and particularly on:

1) the impact of experiential education to long-term practice in the legal profession; and

2) the impact to students’ long-term financial stability with considerations of financial literacy and how this can impact access to justice efforts in the profession.

All legal research will be reviewed by the supervising lawyer before being provided to the partner organization.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing (Law Reform)

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Legal research experience is considered an asset, as is fluency in French.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project. The LSSO Executive may exercise their right to schedule check-in meetings with the students periodically.

 

Lewis and Associates

Canada is a refuge for survivors of persecution and people who need protection from the harm they will face in their homeland. Lewis & Associates specializes in Refugee Law and handles cases from the first stage at the Immigration and Refugee Board Tribunal all the way through to Federal Court appeals.

Lewis and Associates offers a full range of Immigration services to clients seeking both Permanent and Temporary status in Canada. Services include, Business Immigrant Categories, Skilled Workers, Work Permits, Labour Market Opinions, Study Permits and Family-Class Sponsorship.

The students will assist with pro bono refugee files by conducting legal research to create materials for hearings, which includes updated information on country conditions and evidence of persecution. Students will also create packages of useful cases in refugee law according to country. Students will have an opportunity to attend these hearings to see how the materials are being used.

How Many Students?

2-4 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in immigration and refugee law. Previous work or volunteer experience related to immigration and refugee law is considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project. However, work space may be provided for a student at the firm with notice.

 

Lisa Feldstein Law Office

Lisa Feldstein Law Office is a health law firm that focuses on serving family members as they interact with the health care system as caregivers, decision-makers and advocates. The firm serves the family – people trying to build families through assisted reproduction, people trying to access care and make decisions for family members, and people trying to manage health-related legal issues that have arisen within their family.

The student will assist, Lisa Feldstein, the Principal Lawyer with work on a pro bono matter before the Health Services Appeal and Review Board (HSARB) by completing research memos, drafting examination questions, reviewing transcripts and notes from the first days of the hearing (that transpired earlier this year), and other tasks relating to the preparation of the case. The student may also get the opportunity to attend the hearing and observe the case they are working on unfold in real time.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Students should have a strong interest in Health Law. Students should have taken Health Law and other Health related courses at law school/previous studies. Preference for a student who has completed Administrative Law and/or been involved with tribunal work.

Familiarity with or an interest in health or administrative law would be an asset. Experience with the mental health system is also an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

 

Mississauga Community Legal Services (*NEW*)

Peel Region has two legal clinics; one of them is Mississauga Community Legal Services (“MCLS”) which assists people who live in Mississauga and Malton. MCLS is a non-profit corporation staffed by lawyers, community legal workers and administrative staff and directed by a volunteer Board of Directors, whose members come from the community. Their mandate is to provide free legal information, advice and representation to low-income residents of Peel in areas of law that are practiced by these clinics.

Mississauga Community Legal Services (MCLS) provides advice and assistance with legal issues related to Immigration Law, Landlord & Tenant appeals (for tenants), Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) appeals, employment matters, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) matters, and more.

The student will provide assistance to the various divisions of MCLS, supporting them with legal research on relevant case law, legislation, etc. as assigned to them by the supervisor.

They will also conduct legal research and produce content for:

  • blog posts, centred on a “Know Your Rights”/ “Legal Rights 101” model, which will be posted on the clinic’s website and on their social media
  • PLE workshops hosted onsite and at partner organizations, which the student will help execute with supervision

The project will run remotely, but at least 1-2 times a month the student will attend the clinic (504-130 Dundas Street East, Mississauga, ON) in-person, as determined by the supervisor, to work on the above tasks.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research / Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

A demonstrated interest in social justice work is strongly preferred. Experience or an interest in poverty law/clinic law is an asset.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is a partially remote project, with a requirement that the student attend the clinic at least 1-2 times a month (see above).

 

No Conversion Canada (*NEW*)

No Conversion Canada (NCC) is a national, grassroots, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that is dedicated to banning conversion therapy in Canada. We work with conversion therapy survivors, LGBTQ2+ allies and Parliamentarians to advocate for and develop comprehensive federal legislation banning conversion therapy.

Students will have the unique opportunity to assist No Conversion Canada (NCC) in their law reform work as the organization seeks to have conversion therapy banned across Canada.

Phase 1 – Report
Students will research international case studies (at the state level and national level) where conversion therapy bans have already been implemented. They will use their findings to develop a legal analysis of these bans and provide the supervisors with the similarities between these bans, permitting the organization to draw their own conclusions on what a conversion therapy ban could look like in a Canadian content. Ultimately, students will be informing NCC on which region’s laws they should be aware of when developing their communication strategies for the government and what legal challenges could exist (both provincially and federally) against the implementation of a ban should the government pursue the banning of conversion therapy across the nation.

Students will deliver these findings, their analyses, and further outlets worth investigating in the form of research memos that inform NCC on strategies to develop or change this area of Canadian legislation.

Phase 2 – Database
Students will also be developing an online database of legal, human rights, and LGBTQ2+ organizations for individuals or groups looking to launch legal challenges on conversion therapy (both provincial and federal resources). Such basic information (such as the organization’s name, location, area of specialization, and contact information) could be instrumental in these individuals being able to locate the legal assistance they need in a more efficient manner in order to legally combat the practice of conversion therapy.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing (Law Reform)

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Candidates should be queer-positive. An understanding of, or prior work in, policymaking would be an asset but is not required.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

 

NWT Human Rights Commission

The Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission (NWT Human Rights Commission) works towards a Territory that is fair, diverse, safe, and inclusive, where everyone is equal.

Through the legislative process of the NWT’s Legislative Assembly, Bill 30, which included major amendments to the NWT Human Rights Act, recently passed its third reading. Consequently, the Commission needs assistance in conducting legal research in the following areas:

  • Best Practices in conducting systemic discrimination investigations, in particular racial discrimination
  • The public interest as it relates to Human Rights law – what is it? (General essay/case law search and analysis for the Commission)
  • Identifying relevant international human rights instruments and how it can impact domestic law
  1. Assessing their influence on domestic law (i.e. Baker v. Canada)
  • Identifying general criteria for assessing “reasonable offers” for settlement

This research will be conducted by students and presented in the form of memos for the Commission once it has been reviewed by the lawyer supervisor.  Their research will contribute to the creation of  public legal education materials  that the organization hopes to use to inform the training and processes for the NWT Human Rights Commission’s decision-makers, who are they themselves members of the public that serve those whose rights have been negatively impacted. As such, the Commission requests that all research supplied by students be written in plain language.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research / Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Preference for students who have completed courses in human rights law, administrative law, and/or Indigenous or northern law courses. However, all students are welcome to apply.

Students should have demonstrated passion for human rights and equality. Familiarity with Indigenous and northern issues is an asset. Students should ideally have an understanding, or lived experience, of diversity and inclusion. Volunteer or work experience in legal research and in plain language is also considered an asset.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

 

Olthuis Kleer Townshend (OKT) LLP - Domestic Law

OKT works for Indigenous communities to help them get the most of out the Canadian legal system by formulating legal strategies in conjunction with the client, with Indigenous self-determination as the foundation.

Working alongside the OKT LLP – International Law project, this project will have students research and draft memoranda on domestic/Canadian caselaw with respect to the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), with the ultimate goal of creating an annotated version of UNDRIP to be published upon approval by the supervising lawyer and partnering organization.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Upper-year students or LLM students. Previous experience in legal research is an asset.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is a remote project. If students wish to visit the firm, they can coordinate a visit with their supervisor.

 

Olthuis Kleer Townshend (OKT) LLP - International Law (*NEW*)

OKT LLP’s central philosophy is to ensure Indigenous peoples have control over their own fates and futures, including their lands and economic and political decision-making.

Olthuis Kleer Townshend (OKT) LLP works for Indigenous communities to help them get the most of out the Canadian legal system by formulating legal strategies in conjunction with the client, with Indigenous self-determination as the foundation.

Working alongside the OKT LLP - Domestic Law project, this project will have students conduct research on international case law and draft memoranda on their findings with respect to the decisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), with the ultimate goal of creating an annotated version of UNDRIP created by the firm to be published at a later date, and subject to approval by the supervising lawyer and partner organization.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Fluency in Spanish is an asset and strongly preferred. Proficiency in French and Portuguese is beneficial but not required.

Previous experience in international legal research is an asset but not required.

Where Will I Be Volunteering?

This is a remote project. If students wish to visit the firm, they can coordinate a visit with their supervisor.

 

Ontario Deputy Judges Association

Component 1: Research

The ODJA Legal Internship Program will give five (5) students the opportunity to provide remote legal research assistance to Deputy Judges in Ontario, who are members of ODJA. Research questions may relate to reserve judgments; and, if there is insufficient work, in the alternative, interns will perform legal research of interest to ODJA through the production of research memoranda on papers and/or policies. Such alternate work may include research in areas of general application and developing law.

Research topics: It is expected that there will be research topics from various areas of procedural and substantive law, including:

  1. Costs;
  2. Contempt;
  3. Powers of judges;
  4. Damages;
  5. Medical malpractice;
  6. Product liability;
  7. Limitation periods;
  8. Constructive trust; and,
  9. Quantum meruit.

Work product:
All research, papers and research results [“work product”], are the property of ODJA, who retains the benefit of all work product.

Component 2: Shadowing

Interns will have the opportunity to shadow a Deputy Judge once each semester at trial or settlement conference. Interns will arrange their schedules to be available on one day with their law school peer in order to simplify scheduling. They will be given access to the files ahead of time (on confidentiality agreement and swearing an oath of allegiance; and, with the consent of all parties) so that they can have a full framework and understanding prior to sitting in on a trial or a settlement conference session.

Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities

Research Coordinators: Derek Friend (Director ODJA) and Sandra Meir (Administrator ODJA) will advertise the program to ODJA members, will oversee the management of the project and will distribute appropriate tasks to interns. Students will work an average of 3-5 hours/week, but will not be assigned tasks during the months of December or April.

All interns will be introduced to the Deputy Judge requesting research via e-mail. Students will send their work products directly to the Deputy Judges, but should make sure that the Research Coordinators are informed when a task is complete. Interns will have the opportunity to receive feedback from the involved reserve judgment Deputy Judges on the research memoranda, in person, by telephone, or e-mail. It will be the responsibility of the intern to contact the Deputy Judge for feedback; however the Research Coordinators can help facilitate this meeting.

Mentors: Justice Laura Ntoukas (Toronto Small Claims Court) and Derek Friend (Central East). The interns will have a mentor assigned to them by the Research Coordinators (to be confirmed by Sandra). The mentors are responsible for giving general guidance and support, and for answering questions that may arise about the research tasks the interns have been asked to perform.

Laura will host the first-in-person meeting with the interns, and will be responsible for giving the students an overview of ODJA and the Small Claim Court system in Ontario. If possible, Derek, and/or Sandra will attend. She will arrange a shadowing opportunity once in the fall and again in the spring for the interns.

How Many Students?

2-3 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in legal research or writing is strongly preferred.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

 

 

Rainbow Railroad - Research

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 legal research around immigration laws in countries where our clients reside. Students may compose briefing documents on specific sets of immigration and human rights laws for non-lawyer staff in order to enhance understanding of conditions and relationships in these countries. Students may also assist lawyers and caseworkers in drafting cover letters and immigration claim summaries. All legal research and draft cover letters will be reviewed and approved by the supervising lawyer prior to use by the partner organization.

These activities will support 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?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 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).

Though not required, additional languages are an asset (specifically, speaking Farsi, Russian, or Arabic). Immigration and/or refugee law courses are also an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

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

 

 

 

Women's Law Association of Ontario (*NEW*)

The Women’s Law Association of Ontario (WLAO) is dedicated to its mission of empowering women by providing a collective voice and advocating for equality, diversity, and change. They have been an active voice for women, and this placement is no different.

The student will assist the WLAO in its ability to advance fulsome responses and state its position on current legal issues facing women (i.e. Statement of Principles, defunding of legal organizations). The WLAO Advocacy Committee will inform the student on which legal issues are most important to the organization at the time, at which point the student will conduct legal research to unpack the complexities of the issue. The student will draft research memos and present their findings to the Board every month. Using their research and input from the Board, students will then draft letters detailing the WLAO’s position on these legal issues. Upon review from the lawyer supervisor, the Committee, and other appropriate parties, the letters will be used to communicate the WLAO’s official position to the public and the Law Society of Ontario.

Some areas of research the students may be asked to engage in are:

  • Review of Law Society reports and studies relating to equity issues
  • Review of recent court decisions affecting equity seeking groups
  • Assessing the implications of legislative developments in the areas of accessibility and diversity and inclusion
  • Developing recommendations for policies and practices for the promotion of equity and diversity in the legal profession

In addition, the student may have the opportunity to attend Town Halls hosted by the organization. If so, the student will be responsible for informally interviewing some of the participants of the Town Hall to gather information on which legal issues are the most important to them, so that the WLAO can make the decision to establish a formal position on such issues and provide advocacy and support where it can.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Applicants should possess an interest in women's issues.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

The legal research and drafting can be done remotely. There will be a WLAO Board Meeting every third Monday of each month from 6-8pm, which the student is required to attend.

 

York Centre for Public Policy and Law - Criminal Court Decisions Research Project (*NEW*)

The YCPPL draws together legal experts, social scientists and others from the public policy sector to address issues of access to justice, human rights and social policy, accountability and ethics in the public sector and the globalization of public policy. As a collaborative interdisciplinary research centre their mandate is to engage in and support research that meets the needs of the broader community, in particular the needs of government and public policy makers, non-governmental organizations, citizen advocacy groups and social movements in Canada.

This project examines judicial trends in criminal cases in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Ontario Superior Court. Students will be assigned a single judge and review all criminal decisions made by that judge, entering various data points related to each case and memoing any potential trends that emerge. The students’ research will then be turned into a research paper or report drafted by the supervisor, who will draw conclusions from the students’ work.

Students will conduct their work under the supervision of Professor Richard Haigh.

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research (Law Reform)

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

An interest in criminal law is considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.