Client Assistance and Intake

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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, as well as drafting written submissions.

List of Organizations

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly: Client Services

The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) is a community based legal clinic for low income senior citizens.  ACE is managed by a volunteer board of directors at least half of whom are seniors. ACE is funded through Legal Aid Ontario and is the first legal clinic in Canada to specialize in the legal problems of seniors.

ACE provides direct legal services to low-income seniors, public legal education, and engages in law reform activities. ACE services and activities are in relation to areas of law of special importance to the seniors’ population.

Student volunteers will provide assistance with client intake by telephone, email and in-person:

  • 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.

Assistance with legal services on case files, as may be required, under the direct supervision of an ACE staff lawyer.

Preparation of 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?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

There are no formal prerequisites, however, 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. An interest in older adults and general knowledge of elder-law issues is valuable.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

When the students are required to work at the organization (2 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 1J3), they will be provided with suitable work space. Students are expected to provide their own computing devices, with Wi-Fi access provided by the clinic. Mandatory Training: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 from 6p.m. to 8p.m. and Friday, October 12 from 10a.m. to noon.

Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic

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. 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:

  • Assisting to document the history of abuse for the court;
  • Accompanying women through the court process, including, where appropriate, attending meetings and court proceedings.
  • Debriefing after court proceedings and discussing next steps;
  • Arranging access to language interpreters;
  • Providing referrals to specialized services and community supports

Students will not provide legal advice or assistance with pleadings, but will be exposed to the court system and non-legal courthouse advocacy.

How Many Students?

6 to 7 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

Female identifying 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Family law knowledge is preferred, but not necessary. Past work with survivors of violence would be an asset. Previous clinical experience and knowledge of violence against women is preferred. Capacity for empathy and non-judgmental attitude are a must.

Preference for upper year students but 1L students with appropriate background may be accepted.

BSCC encourages applications from volunteers from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Additional language (especially Spanish, Indi, Urdu and Indigenous languages) are an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Work locations and shifts are as follows:

47 Sheppard Ave East. Toronto, ON

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Friday: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

311 Jarvis Street, Toronto, ON

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 10 am to 1 pm

393 University, Toronto, ON

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) Research and File Assistance

The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is a non-profit, public interest organization established in 1970 to use existing laws to protect the environment and to advocate environmental law reforms. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario, CELA is one of 76 community legal clinics located across Ontario, 18 of which offer services in specialized areas of the law (for contact information, see Getting Legal Help: A Directory Community Legal Clinics in Ontario). CELA also undertakes additional educational and law reform projects funded by government and private foundations.

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.

Students will work on 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). Specific projects will depend on case file needs at the time, and lawyer availability.  In the past, PBSC students have completed tasks included the following: researching and drafting summary advice letters to clients, drafting jurisdictional reviews of asbestos regulations to support CELA’s law reform initiatives, drafting plain-language guides to environmental legislation to be used by agencies, other legal research on water, toxics, energy.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake; legal research

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

A keen interest in environmental law, social justice and public interest law.

CLASP I.D. Clinic

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.

PBSC students will speak to clients, informing them of the program, how it works, and whom to speak with. 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.

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 referral binder.

In addition to working at the clinic, students will spend time between shifts on assigned tasks related to running and building the ID clinic, including file management, developing community awareness, researching fee waiver options, and exploring expansion options for the project.

How Many Students?

2 to 3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake; 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 at CLASP – located in Osgoode Hall Law School – research, writing and community outreach work can be done remotely

CLASP + KPMG Tax Clinic

Why a Pro Bono Tax Clinic?

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 aims to pilot a pro bono tax clinic model (a collaboration between CLASP, KPMG Law LLP, and PBSC) to better understand the model. Our hope is that the clinic will 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. In the pilot year 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

Students will meet one-on-one (or two-on-one initially) with clients. Students will provide legal information and verbal summary advice where appropriate under the supervision of the supervising lawyer. Initially – unless otherwise agreed by all parties – no files are expected to be opened for clients. 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 referral binder.

Public Legal Education

CLASP receives requests from the community for PLEs. CLASP can advise community partners that the new Pro Bono Tax Clinic can provide Tax law PLEs. The Pro Bono Tax Clinic students will work, under the supervisions of the supervising lawyer, to develop PLE materials and deliver PLEs.

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 on Tuesdays (example of possible scheduling – 9:30 – 12:30 / 2:30 – 5:30). Successfully completing an introductory tax law course is a requirement.

Students who have already taken tax will be given preference, any participating student must who has not taken tax must take it concurrently. Experience in a clinic setting, experience with tax law issues, experience with poverty law, experience with client intake/interviewing are preferred but not necessary.

Community Legal Clinic of York Region

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 (the lawyers will have carriage of the files).  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 may also conduct and produce research memos for case workers in the area of Social Assistance Law. Students who continue in the pro bono program for a second semester and indicate an interest in taking on additional responsibilities may also have the opportunity to participate (Co – counsel) in representing clients at the Social Benefits Tribunal.

Students may also have the opportunity to attend Satellite Clinics and Shelters and provide legal information to clients under the supervision of an articling student or Paralegal.

Students will work under the one to one supervision of a practising lawyer.

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Any additional spoken languages will be considered an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

21 Dunlop St, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 2M6

DUKE Heights BIA

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 online platform is designed to improve access to legal information for business owners, employers, employees and future entrepreneurs operating in the BIA. 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 business owners face.

The students will be working on tasks which include providing legal information and providing resources to clients, as well as building a public legal education materials which will lead to outreach efforts (i.e. workshops) later in the duration of the PBSC project.

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 (Russian, Persian, Korean, Vietnamese or others). Interest in Employment law, labour law, Human Rights law, Corporate law, or Contract law. Interest in entrepreneurship.

Family Law Project

The Family Law Project is the flagship project of PBSC. During the school year, we have 60 volunteers from UofT and Osgoode who assist self-represented clients in 5 different courts across the GTA (Newmarket, Brampton, 47 Sheppard, 311 Jarvis and 393 University). The Family Law Project is an incredible opportunity for students to gain client-facing and legal drafting experience 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.

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.  Must attend training on September 26th and 29th.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Various courthouses – see description above

Family Law Rotation Project

The Family Law Project provides first year students with the opportunity to gain unparalleled experience in family law. Four students from each school will be selected to participate in the program for the academic year. No prior experience in family law is necessary. Space in the program is limited to students who can make a four-hour weekly commitment throughout the school year.

The FLRP consists of two major components:

Rotation:

During the Fall semester, students will participate in a series of lunch 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 will be structured events where students will have the opportunity to interact with lawyers and gain insight into the different aspects of the family legal system. Each student will be required to prepare insightful questions to ask at the events. The aim is to provide students with a well-rounded and comprehensive family law experience in a private practice, legal clinic, mediation practice, government agency, and family court.

Pro Bono:

During the Winter semester, students will be welcomed into a family law firm and given the opportunity to experience the practice of family law first hand. Students will assist, under the supervision of a practicing lawyer, on a pro bono or low bono client file. 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 a practicing lawyer and observe the work undertaken by a family law lawyer and the skills needed to successfully serve clients. By assisting on a pro bono file, students will be able to donate their time to client who may otherwise be without representation and be introduced to the dedicated culture of pro bono in family law

How Many Students?

4 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake; Research & Writing.

Who Can Apply?

1Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

None

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Various locations (see description)

FCJ Refugee Centre

Volunteer lawyers, pro-bono law students and numerous additional volunteers all contribute to this important program. The Uprooted People Protection Program provides legal information for refugee claimant 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. One unique aspect of this program is providing information specifically to people who have been denied their refugee claim, but are unable to return to their own country.

How Many Students?

2 to 5 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Additional language fluency is an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

208 Oakwood Avenue, Toronto, ON, M6E 2V4

Greenwood Lam LLP

Our firm provides regular ongoing pro bono low income access to justice services. The students would be assisting in all the usual duties required of a law student or clerk working in a small practice such as ours. They 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 we may have them appear in court for the purposes of an administrative adjournment. We will provide them with hands on, transferrable skills and experience working in a busy law firm environment. As mentioned, our files consist of almost entirely legal aid or pro bono work and we are quite busy as a result. The work is almost exclusively criminal law.

Our clients come to us via referrals from various social justice organizations such as 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. Our clients are some of the most vulnerable individuals facing criminal charges or addressing other matters affecting their personal liberty. We 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 experience would be an asset ; Volunteer must be interested in defence side criminal law and should not be working for, or planning to work for, the Crown; Preference will be given to female applicants

Where Will You be Volunteering?

65 Queen Street West, Suite 1240, Toronto, ON, M5H 2M5

Health Justice Program (HJP) Client Intake Project

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 45,000 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.

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:

  • Stable and safe housing
  • Stabilization of parental access and child support in the context of family breakdown
  • Fair treatment at work
  • Ensuring good care for vulnerable adults with limited or declining capacity
  • 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 will receive training on our intake and file closure procedures, as well as our policies around confidentiality and conflicts in a multidisciplinary setting. Students will 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?

Students would ideally have experience working collaboratively with marginalised 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)

I.D. Project – PBO & Lawyers Feed the Hungry

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. Every other Wednesday, two lawyers (one from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP and one from the CCCA), along with two students from PBSC, and one PBO staff member, will attend the Lawyers Feed the Hungry dinner service at 130 Queen Street West. Volunteers will check-in at 5 pm and have an opportunity to ask PBO staff any questions and meet their fellow volunteers. Each lawyer will be paired with a PBSC student to assist in interviewing clients and filling out the relevant documentation.

PBSC students will speak to clients, informing them of the program, how it works, and whom to speak with. 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 either the “Ontario Photo Card – Address Requirement for the Homeless or Marginally Housed Applicants” for photo identification, or the “Agency Assistance Form and Registration for Ontario Health Insurance Coverage” for health coverage. Once the forms are complete, PBSC students will be responsible for making copies of the completed documents and providing them to PBO staff at the end of the evening.

It is expected that a diverse range of other legal issues may arise during the course of interviewing clients. Volunteer lawyers and PBSC students are encouraged to make the appropriate referrals if they feel comfortable or consult with PBO staff on possible options.

In addition to working at the clinic, students will spend time between shifts on assigned tasks related to running and building the clinic, including file management, developing the referral guide, researching fee waiver options, and exploring expansion options for the project.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake: Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Experience in clinic setting, poverty law, client/intake interviewing or additional language fluency would be considered an asset. Must attend training on October 4th.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

LSUC Cafeteria, 130 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N5

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 them on their legal matters. Students will be trained to interview clients to assist in the prosecution of the file. Students will be asked to research legal issues. Students will be asked to assist the legal workers in the management and closing of files.

How Many Students?

2 to 4 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake: Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

None

Where Will You be Volunteering?

1315 Finch Ave W, Unit 409, Toronto, ON, M3J 2G6

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 our service. Our access to justice program operates a call centre which triages clients by identifying their problem and providing reduced fee referrals and applicable community resources.

How Many Students?

4 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

Where Will You be Volunteering?

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

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

Justice for Children and Youth

Justice for Children and Youth provides select legal representation to low-income children and youth in Toronto and vicinity. We are a non-profit legal aid clinic that specializes in protecting the rights of those facing conflicts with the legal system, education, social service or mental health systems. We give summary legal advice, information and assistance to young people, parents (in education matters), professionals and community groups across Ontario.

Justice for Children and Youth has staff lawyers who represent and advocate for youth under 18 and a lawyer for homeless youth under 25. Justice for Children and Youth’s staff lawyers provide direct legal assistance in all areas of children’s law to eligible children and youth of Toronto and vicinity. In conjunction with legal assistance, we provide community outreach and public legal education. We give summary legal advice, information and assistance to young people, parents (in education matters), professionals and community groups are provided on a province wide basis.

Justice for Children and Youth advocates for law and policy reform and as well, monitors and responds to current developments and proposed changes to the laws which affect children. A wide range of publications and legal materials are maintained for public use.

Student volunteers will be expected to come into the office weekly for four hour shifts and provide legal assistance to staff lawyers with legal research, client communication and letter writing. All students are closely supervised and are given regular feedback on task performance.

How Many Students?

3 to 4 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake; Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

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

Where Will You be Volunteering?

55 University Ave, 15th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5J 2H7

Law Help Ontario (PBO)

PBSC at Law Help Ontario is a multi-chapter project at the U of T, Osgoode, and Ottawa Common Law Chapters of Pro Bono Students Canada (“PBSC”). The project is in collaboration with Pro Bono Ontario (“PBO”).

PBSC student volunteers attend their local volunteer centres for set a.m. and set p.m. shifts.  The centres are open Monday through Friday. During their shifts, students engage directly with clients and volunteer duty counsel.

Law Help 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.

How Many Students?

6 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

None

Where Will You be Volunteering?

47 Sheppard Ave East, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON, M2N 5N1

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 PBSC at Law Help Ontario Volunteer Coordinator (VC) in September, and then again in January should changes to student schedules have occurred.

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

Mahdi Weinstock LLP – Immigration & Refugee Project

Students are expected to come into the office weekly for four-hour shifts (students will choose their shift at the beginning of each semester) and provide legal assistance to staff lawyers with legal research, client communication and letter writing. All students are closely supervised and are given regular feedback on task performance.

Students who display interest and ability may have the additional opportunity to attend hearings with lawyers.

Students will be working on immigration and refugee law related matters.

How Many Students

4 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance & Intake; Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

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?

Students will be volunteering at the firm’s offices at 40 Eglinton Ave E, Suite 501, Toronto, ON, M4P 3A2

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 Service clinic once per week on alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays for a 2.5-hour shift where they will perform client intake on Tuesdays and draft an affidavit. Students will return the following Thursdays 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.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Preference will be given to students with a demonstrated interest in working with marginalized groups and who are sensitive to the needs of diverse communities.

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.

Rainbow Railroad: Intake Project

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 and 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?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Student volunteers must be queer-positive and should ideally possess relevant educational background/employment and extracurricular experience. Coursework in immigration law is preferred, but not required.

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 helps clients prepare claims for refugee status at refugee determination hearings before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). 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.  Students may work directly with clients to help them prepare their case by way of gathering evidence and/or preparing testimony.  Students will also have an opportunity to attend oral proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board or Federal Court.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Client Assistance

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

The ideal student volunteers will be punctual and reliable and will be sensitive in working with a diverse clientele.  Students should have excellent attention to detail and issue spotting skills.  Multilingualism is an asset.  Prospective student volunteers must be enrolled in, or have completed, at least one course in refugee, immigration, and/or forced migration law and/or international human rights.  The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated interest and/or experience in human rights, immigration and refugee issues.

If you are interested in applying to the Refugee Law Office Internship, please note that applications are due on Sep. 10th, 2018 at 9:00 am.

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic

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 advice is generally given. This project enables the clinic to expand its services to advice, form-filling, 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 as to how to prepare and build the case for tenant remedies. Students will prepare clients to self-represent at LTB
  • Interview tenants, assess merits of case, 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.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing / Client Intake & Assistance

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

No but almost any second language would be useful

Where Will You be Volunteering?

21 Panorama Court, Suite 24, Toronto, ON, M9V 4E3

SKETCH –  Trans I.D. Clinic

SKETCH engages diverse young people, ages 16- 29 from across Canada who are navigating poverty, living homeless, or are otherwise on the margins.

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.

This fall, Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) is launching a cutting-edge project in partnership with SKETCH, a Toronto-based organization that engages street-involved youth through the arts. The first of its kind, the Trans Youth Clinic will provide free legal information, form-filling services and referrals in a safe, queer-positive, non-judgemental, anti-oppressive and inclusive space.

The Clinic will assist LGBTQ+ and in particular trans-identified youth by providing assistance with ID applications, name changes, gender marker changes and other related issues. The Clinic will run bi-weekly at SKETCH, 180 Shaw Street in Toronto.

SKETCH has committed to fundraising roughly $5000 in the fall in order to cover fees associated with I.D. applications and gender / name change applications.

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, experience with poverty law, experience with client intake/interviewing will be considered assets

Where Will You be Volunteering?

180 Shaw Street, Suite 201, Toronto, ON, M6J 2W5

Wills Project

The Wills Project aims to help people who cannot afford a lawyer to make a will and powers of attorney both for their property and for their personal care. Eligible clients (meeting certain income, asset and inheritance requirements) work with law students who are supervised by a lawyer to draft the will and powers of attorney.

Entrepreneurial students are matched with lawyers and have the opportunity to assist multiple clients and gain invaluable exposure to, and experience in, the practice of drafting wills and powers of attorney.

How Many Students?

10 students

What kind of Project?

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

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Previous experience with community volunteer work is an asset but not a requirement

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remote work; meetings at various lawyer supervisor offices or alternative locations as required.