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

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)

  • Butterfly provides support, education, information to Asian and migrant sex workers, as well as promote safety and dignity for all sex workers, regardless of their gender, race or immigration status. The organization works to enhance access to health, social, labour, and legal rights and services.
  • Under the guidance of the supervisors, students will conduct legal research into questions surrounding the municipal and human rights legislation and the rights of migrant sex workers in order to create legal education materials. Students will also conduct legal research to create legal information materials in plain language to assist migrant sex workers navigate the various court system/processes that they may encounter (for example, navigating the refugee or immigration system).

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Additional spoken languages (particularly Chinese or Mandarin) would be considered an asset.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Work can be done remotely or at the Centre for Social Innovation Spadina (215 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2C7).

Durham Community Legal Clinic

The Durham Community Legal Clinic promotes access to justice throughout the Durham Region for low income individuals by proving high quality legal services. The student will prepare public legal education (PLE) materials, including preparing plain language resources and presentations. The student will also have the opportunity to deliver public legal education presentations in the community in different areas of law.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Where Will You be Volunteering?

The clinic is located at 111 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1G 4S4.

Fetal Alcohol System Disorder (FASD) and the Justice System

FASD and the Justice System provides information and resources about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), including background information, case law, legal resources and strategies for effective intervention. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term for the leading causes of mental and developmental disabilities in the Western world. A person with FASD always has permanent brain damage, though obvious physical effects are usually absent. The result is that FASD is often invisible to the untrained eye.

FASD presents many difficult challenges across the judicial system, from arrest through to correctional processes. The objective of the website is to provide information to help ensure that justice system professionals will be better informed in their contact with persons with FASD who enter the justice system as accused, victims or witnesses, and better equipped to respond appropriately to the challenges. The students will be working remotely on projects that include:

  • conducting regular searches for case law related to FASD (criminal law and child welfare specifically)
  • conducting research to find new reports and resources
  • looking into other research topics as identified by the steering committee
  • help with social media outreach (Twitter and Facebook)

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

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?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education/ 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

Northwest Territories 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.

Students will conduct legal research by finding and reviewing relevant cases and legislation in the area  of human rights jurisdiction. Canadian human rights jurisdiction is divided into federal and provincial authority as outlined by sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act.  In practice the determination of jurisdiction can be complex, especially in the case of Aboriginal service operations in  self-governing Indigenous communities. The demarcation between human rights  jurisdictions—particularly the  NWT and the Canadian Human Rights Commissions—are often unclear. The student will contribute to an existing research project by updating and extending it with current legal research to clarify these jurisdictional boundaries.  The research on jurisdiction may also be extended into questions dealing with specific areas of jurisdiction that arise in the human rights complaint process, including the overlapping jurisdiction of other administrative bodies.

Students will also work on conducting the legal research necessary to create plain language materials for the Commission members and the public, which outline their responsibilities both when a party to a complaint or having carriage of a complaint.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

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

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.

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?

5 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.

Romero House

Romero House works with refugee claimants: people who claim refugee status after arriving in Canada. It provides transitional housing, where refugee families live with us for the one year after their arrival, in which time they are accompanied in navigating the refugee determination process and establishing their lives in Canada. Romero House also has walk-in programs, which includes a food bank, clothing boutiques, and assistance with: settlement assistance, accessing legal aid, finding lawyers, refugee claim process, accessing education, and accessing social assistance.

The students will have the opportunity to assist with creating public legal education materials to be used with clients who come into the Romero House and to provide client assistance. The student will also have the opportunity to establish the materials/process that can be used to provide the clients with legal resources and information before the clients meets with the Romero House staff for the full intake.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education and Pre-intake Process.

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in immigration and refugee law; volunteer or work experience with working with vulnerable groups or immigration and refugee related field – knowledge/experience/background in working with refugees and newcomers. Preferably knowledge on immigration and refugee system of Canada, tenant rights, accessing to social assistance. The job will require skills to navigate different systems and resources that are involved in resettlement process.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Romero house is located at 1558 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6P 1A4

Toronto Community Benefits Network Project – Joint

The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) envisions Toronto as an inclusive, thriving city in which all residents have equitable opportunities to contribute to healthy communities and a prospering economy. With a focus on community groups located near Eglinton Crosstown line or the Finch West LRT line, TCBN’s primary objectives are to:

  1. Provide equitable economic opportunities that promote economic inclusion for all Toronto residents
  2. Contribute to the development of a system of training and workforce development programs that can enable economic inclusion
  3. Support social enterprises and other related vehicles to economic inclusion through commitments to social procurement
  4. Contribute to sustainable communities with neighbourhood and environmental improvements built through new transit infrastructure.
  5. Ensure clear commitments and accountability from all parties to deliver on Community Benefits.

PBSC students, along with students involved with the TCBN Black Young Professionals Project, will have an opportunity to participate in scheduled focus groups (administered by TCBN staff and the students). The students will then identify the main legal issues/needs of community entrepreneurs discussed during the focus groups. The joint project will then involve students conducting legal research to provide up-to-date information for the organization’s website and blog. They will create plain language resources about legislative changes, legal processes (such as creating various contracts, agreements, incorporations), and legal terminologies for community entrepreneurs.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in entrepreneurship, corporate law, and employment/labour law.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

2 Champagne Drive, Suite C9

Toronto Community Benefits Network Project – Black Young Professionals Project

The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) envisions Toronto as an inclusive, thriving city in which all residents have equitable opportunities to contribute to healthy communities and a prospering economy. With a focus on community groups located near Eglinton Crosstown line or the Finch West LRT line, TCBN’s primary objectives are to:

  1. Provide equitable economic opportunities that promote economic inclusion for all Toronto residents
  2. Contribute to the development of a system of training and workforce development programs that can enable economic inclusion
  3. Support social enterprises and other related vehicles to economic inclusion through commitments to social procurement
  4. Contribute to sustainable communities with neighbourhood and environmental improvements built through new transit infrastructure.
  5. Ensure clear commitments and accountability from all parties to deliver on Community Benefits.

PBSC students, along with students involved with the TCBN Black Young Professionals Project, will have an opportunity to participate in scheduled focus groups (administered by TCBN staff and the students). The students will then identify the main legal issues/needs of community entrepreneurs discussed during the focus groups. Specifically through this project, the TCBN will seek to create a diverse pool of talent to fill careers in the industry by supporting Black young professionals through targeted training, workplace experience, occupational mentorship, career advancement opportunities, and wrap-around. Furthermore, the TCBN seeks to support developing the skills, experience, credentials, and networks to advance in their careers. In partnership with PBSC, this project will assist in leveraging the skills and education of Black youth to develop the capacity of TCBN’s social enterprise members and participating minority owned companies to access procurement opportunities.

The project will involve Black law students researching and developing a plain language legal rights presentation and a workshop as part of TBCN’s outreach. These public legal education presentations and workshops will include plain language information about legal terminologies and legal procedures that small business owners may find helpful (creating partnerships, bidding for projects, labour/employment laws).

How Many Students?

3 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in entrepreneurship, corporate law, and employment/labour law.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

2 Champagne Drive, Suite C9

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape

TRCC/MWAR is a grassroots, women and non-binary run collective working towards a violence-free world by providing anti-oppressive, feminist peer support to survivors of sexual violence through support, education and activism. TRCC/MWAR envisions the liberation of women, trans, non-binary people and children from all forms of violence. We celebrate freedom of choice, sexual freedom and healthy communities and human interactions. TRCC/MWAR operates on principles of mutual respect and anti-oppression. We believe survivors of sexual violence are experts in their own healing. Together we work toward creating a thriving community, empowering survivors of all races, classes, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities and spiritualities.

Students will work with the organization to complete necessary legal research, which will in part be used to create plain language resources. TRCC/MWAR supports survivors in navigating the justice system through services like the accompaniment support services to those who wish to engage the legal justice system following their experience of sexual assault. The students will review and update information materials on navigating the justice system that are currently available to service users to ensure that all the information is up-to-date and reflective of recent legislative changes that may affect survivors of sexual violence and other service users. The students will also create new, comprehensive, and user-friendly, plain-language information to increase access to justice to those who come to the TRCC/MWAR for support.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education; Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in issues surrounding sexual violence and in criminal/family/immigration law.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

The address of the office will be shared with the student, once selected.

Vive Shelter

The Vive Shelter is a program of Jericho Road Community Health Center, which assists those who wish to make a refugee claim in Canada or who are seeking asylum protection in the United States by providing safety, shelter, food, and legal help. Due to Buffalo’s closeness to the Canadian border, affordable housing, and an already vibrant refugee community, there are a significant number of asylum seekers that come to the Vive Shelter.

The student will review and update information materials that are currently available to service users to ensure that all the information is up-to-date and reflective of recent legislative changes that may affect refugee claimants and asylum seekers. The students will also create new, comprehensive, and user-friendly, plain-language information (pamphlets and brochures) with legal and community resources to increase access to justice to those who come to the Vive Shelter.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Public Legal Education; Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in issues related to refugees, asylum seekers, and immigration.

Where Will You be Volunteering?

This is a remote project.