Who has to fulfill the Osgoode Public Interest Requirement (OPIR)?
All students graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School with a JD degree must complete the 40-hour requirement and the critical reflection evaluation.
What is the critical reflection evaluation requirement?
Students have the option of writing a short five-page reflective paper OR participating in a three-hour facilitated discussion with other students who have completed the 40-hour requirement. Additional details are available on the Post-Placement Evaluation page.
What work will qualify for the public interest requirement?
The work must be law-related, uncompensated, in the public interest and must be supervised by a qualified lawyer. Public interest means that the work will be part of agencies, firms or organizations providing access to justice to people or groups with limited access to legal advice, information or representation, participating in substantive law reform activities, providing services that build the capacity of organizations or communities to engage with the law or legal processes.
Where should students look for public interest opportunities?
There are opportunities within a number of established programs and placements which are listed on the Osgoode Public Interest Requirement web page or students may source their own public interest placements, in consultation with the Osgoode Public Interest Requirement Office. Student-sourced placements must be approved before work begins.
Where may students work?
Students may work with community legal clinics, government agencies, self-regulated professional organizations, with law faculty, with government, with law firms who are providing pro bono work, in non-governmental organizations with public interest mandates, with sole practitioners, with the judiciary.
Would other volunteer work meet the public interest requirement, for example, volunteering with Meals on Wheels?
The work must be law-related. This means students would be doing work involving the application or interpretation of law, formulating legal policy, participating in client legal representation, public outreach on legal issues, public legal education or community development. Not all volunteer opportunities would meet these criteria.
May students do more than 40 hours?
Yes. Many students will complete more than 40 hours, either due to interest or the requirements of the placement.
May students complete the 40-hour requirement at more than one placement?
Yes. Students may complete the requirement at more than one placement. If so, the student must complete and hand in a registration Form #1 for each additional placement and it will have to be completed before work begins. The evaluation will take place upon the student completing 40 hours.
May students fulfill the requirement anywhere?
Yes. There may be positions nationally or internationally which qualify for the public interest requirement. All placements must be approved by the Director of the Osgoode Public Interest Requirement (OPIR) program before work begins.
Does travel time count towards the requirement?
How will the public interest requirement be acknowledged?
The Assistant Dean, Students will receive a list of students who have fulfilled the public interest requirement (40 hours plus the evaluation). Recognition of the completion of the public interest requirement will appear on the student’s transcript at the end of their third year.
What happens if students do not meet the 40-hour requirement or complete the evaluation?
The public interest requirement is a graduation requirement. Students who do not satisfactorily meet the OPIR requirement by the deadline for graduation audits, (usually in April of your third year), will NOT be allowed to graduate. This means completing the requirements specific to the placement, the 40 hours of work and the critical evaluation requirement.