Public Legal Education

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The legal profession has a responsibility to disseminate information about the rights and responsibilities of individuals, especially when it comes to interactions that involve power imbalances. A placement focused on Public Legal Education aims to accomplish this goal by allowing students to become involved in determining the needs of surrounding communities. Students will also have the opportunity to create materials with legal information in various areas of law, in addition to travelling to several community organizations to deliver Public Legal Education workshops.

List of Organizations


 Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers

The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers developed a community outreach program which works remotely. The goal of the program is to determine the needs of various Asian communities and present PLEs with legal information on these matters. Common topics for students to present on include wills and landlord tenant law, but students may present on any areas of interest to the populations that they are serving.

Additionally, students will perform community outreach to communicate with organizations in the GTA to develop new projects. Students will learn about the needs of the community and develop presentations to present to individuals in that community.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing / Community Outreach

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Student must speak one or more of the following languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese or Tagalog

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remotely


Innocence Canada

Innocence Canada (formerly the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted or AIDWYC) is a Canadian, non-profit organization that was founded in 1993 and incorporated in 2000.

Innocence Canada’s mandate is to identify, advocate for, an exonerate individuals who have been convicted of a crime they did not commit and to prevent wrongful convictions through legal educations and reform.

In the years since its inception, Innocence Canada’s team of volunteers have reviewed hundreds of cases, leading to the successful exoneration of 21 innocent individuals who together spent more than 190 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Innocence Canada’s team of over 50 pro bono lawyers are currently reviewing approximately 85 claims of innocence.

Students will improve and expand existing PLE materials directed at different sections of the community. Students will improve and expand existing PLE materials directed at different sections of the community. Students will then travel to various community organizations (such as friendship centres) and schools (such as Toronto high schools) to deliver rights-based PLE workshops. During “off” weeks when students are not presenting workshops they will compile FAQs and draft responses based on the lawyer’s responses and guidance. The primary focus is Public Legal Education however, depending on workflow, students might be assigned intake files or case specific research tasks.

How Many Students?

2 students.

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education: Research & Writing; Possibly Client Intake & Assistance

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in Criminal Law will be considered an asset; Experience with public speaking, presenting and working with vulnerable populations and sensitive subject matter is an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remote / When necessary at Innocence Canada offices: 111 Peter Street, Suite 408, Toronto, ON, M5V 2H1


METRAC

Students will prepare for and provide PLE presentations at Toronto area community groups, including shelters for women who have been exposed to violence. Students will work with METRAC’s legal information materials, doing research and adapting presentation materials as needed. PLE presentations will explain various aspects of the law and legal process that women are likely to encounter, and may be related to information on the OWJN and FLEW websites.

Please note that there will be training on how to appropriately and sensitively work with vulnerable women, and on plain language and accessible presentation skills.

How Many Students

2 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education.

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Yes, an awareness of and interest in social justice, human rights, feminism, anti-oppression, and violence against women issues

Previous experience with plain language communications and/or community presentations is considered an asset

Candidates should have demonstrated ability to work independently

It would be helpful for students to have a basic understanding of one or more of: family law; immigration law; labour/employment law; human rights law; tenancy law; criminal law, especially as it may impact on vulnerable or abused women.  Experience with writing in plain, accessible language and/or community PLE delivery is also considered an asset, but is not essential as training on these skills will be provided

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remote – mandatory training sessions


Pro Bono Podcast

The Pro Bono Podcast Project is a weekly podcast , prepared and presented by law students. Podcasts will last 30 minutes and will discuss important legal issues or occasionally interesting and off-centre legal topics that stimulate interest and provide information. Students will choose a topic, contact guest speakers, determine the interview agenda, develop interview questions, and conduct the interviews on-air. The podcast will inform the public by providing various perspectives on a topical legal issue in an accessible way.

Students will also post on social media to generate interest for their podcast before its release. Students will be responsible for editing the episode, drafting a description of the podcast and posting it on their website and on each school’s respective social media accounts.

How Many Students?

6 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing / Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in media and public legal education would be an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remote research; recording at Toronto Reference Library.


Urban Alliance on Race Relations

Under guidance of qualified review counsel, students will conduct legal research into questions surrounding the legislation and operation of Ontario’s new Anti-Racism Directorate and surrounding the rights of students and teachers vis-à-vis police officers under the School Resource Officer program. Students will work with review counsel and UARR staff to create and deliver Public Legal Education materials and presentations.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

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; workspace at UARR Offices (2 Carlton Street, Suite 1001, Toronto, ON, M5B 1J3) can be arranged if/when necessary