Research and Writing

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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 Organizations

Aboriginal Legal Services

Students will review previously prepared Gladue Reports for female Aboriginal offenders that have been submitted to the Court between 2001 and 2016. Students will review the reports and input data relating to particular experiences of offenders from the reports into a database. The information is the database will be analyzed by academics and ultimately used to produce an academic research paper.

Students will receive technical training from professors, graduate students and lawyers at ALS. Students will also receive cultural competency training and traditional teachings.

Students will be required to engage in regular check-ins with the lawyer supervisor and an Elder or other mental health professional regarding the incredibly sensitive and potentially traumatizing content of the reports. As detailed narratives, Gladue Reports regularly include graphic quotes from Residential School survivors and victims of severe sexual abuse. Students who have developed a support system within the law school and Toronto community will be best prepared for this project.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Demonstrated knowledge of issues facing Aboriginal people in Canada

An understanding of intergenerational trauma, the Indian Residential School system and the child welfare system

Students with a background in social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, criminology, geography or political science) will be given preference

Where Will You be Volunteering?

211 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 1M4

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI.ca)

AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.  Operating three broadcast services, AMI-TV and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal.

Kelly & Co. is a weekly 2-hour broadcast 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.  Legal information contained within these memos will be disseminated publicly via the broadcasts.

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.

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. Familiarity with the Charter and human rights legislation is an asset.

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly: Lecture Research

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 assist ACE staff with preparation of legal research memoranda and other materials such as memoranda on legal issues attendant on older LGBTQ adults residing in long-term care or other congregate living arrangements, and/or other elder-law topics of interest as may be assigned, under the direct supervision of an ACE staff lawyer.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

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.

The 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. Human trafficking in Canada is occurring at shocking levels. It is a sophisticated, organized crime and that demands sophisticated, coordinated and integrated solutions. The Centre has been established as the national “backbone” organization working on this issue. The Centre collaborates and works with the various stakeholders dedicated to this issue, including all levels of government, private sector businesses and front line service providers in order to advance best practices and eliminate duplicate efforts across Canada.

The CCTEHT Human Trafficking & Municipal Law Legal Research Project (“the Project”) will provide two students the opportunity to contribute to a legal research project focusing on one or more of the following topics:

  • liability of municipalities that fail to adequately protect vulnerable individuals being issued licenses for work in both licensed and unlicensed body rub parlours;
  • history of policy development in the body rub parlour licensing process, especially in regard to human trafficking;
  • incidence and reporting of human trafficking in body rub parlours;
  • due diligence requirements of by-law enforcement and municipal officials;
  • environmental scan of best practises and possible tools in Canada or the U.S. jurisdictions that seeks to end trafficking operations in illicit massage businesses.

Students will conduct legal research under supervision of municipal lawyers at Dentons Canada LLP.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Recommended preparation: Administrative Law, Human Rights 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.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association: Rights Watch Blog

Participants will monitor courts in assigned areas, identify civil liberties issue(s) in Canada and write accessible information for the public. This project serves all persons in Canada with an emphasis on those individuals and organizations interested in civil liberties issues and/or seeking information on civil liberties issues which may affect them; society at large by keeping the spotlight on civil liberties abuses and providing accessible rights information to Canadians.

Students are required to post to the blog once weekly.  Posts can be brief (approx. 200-400 words) and include links to relevant source material (cases, legislation, news articles, etc.) Periodically CCLA staff may specifically ask students to blog on a particular issue or story. Students are encouraged to comment on each other’s blog posts to start a dialogue on civil liberties issues.

Students will participate in up to four civil liberties “intensives” over the course of the academic year, in conjunction with CCLA Talk Rights students.  During these online sessions students will have exclusive access to leading practitioners on different civil liberties topics.  The sessions will be no more than one hour in length.  Students are required to attend at least three of the four sessions over the course of the year.  Efforts will be made to accommodate students’ schedules.

Student Responsibilities

  • Send a two-line biography (required) and photo (optional) to Brenda McPhail at the CCLA for inclusion on the blog’s Authors page
  • Monitor assigned area and blog at least once/week
  • Attend at least 3 of 4 civil liberties “intensives” during the academic year

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

English/French bilingualism would be an asset

Preference will be given to upper year students

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remotely

Canadian Environmental Law Association

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 projects have 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?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Student must have completed Administrative Law and have an interest in public interest law, environmental law and social justice

Where Will You be Volunteering?

55 University Avenue, Suite 1500, Toronto, ON, M5J 2H7

EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust

Globally, LGBTQI2S people experience significant discrimination and violence, often leading to forced migration. Upon arrival to Canada, LGBTQI2S refugees and newcomers require legal support to aid their settlement process, as well as other barriers that they may face that stem from their multiple intersections of identity, including hate crime, gender-based violence, employment concerns, homelessness and housing instability. Despite the increased likelihood of requiring legal support and guidance, LGBTQI2S refugee and newcomers lack information about the rights, legal processes, and programs to assist them.

The purpose of this project is to:

  • Conduct a literature review of the main legal concerns of LGBTQI2S refugees and newcomers and potential best practices to providing inclusive legal support;
  • Develop a library of journal articles and resources pertaining to best and promising legal practices inclusive of LGBTQI2S refugee and newcomers lived experiences and needs;
  • Disseminate information about rights, legal processes, and supportive programming to LGBTQI2S refugee and newcomer communities through the development of information sheets and infographics in accessible formats and through an anti-racist and anti-oppressive (ARAO) lens.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Student must have completed Immigration and/or Refugee law and have an interest in public interest law, environmental law and social justice

Where Will You be Volunteering?

55 University Avenue, Suite 1500, Toronto, ON, M5J 2H7

Hamilton Community Legal Clinic

Research questions:

  1. Do Municipal licensing schemes compel tenants to allow an inspector to enter their homes?

There are discussions surrounding the issue of licensing rental housing in Ontario. For example, Toronto plans to license buildings that have 10 stories or above; others want to license smaller places with fewer units. This is due to the various concerns regarding minimum property/safety standards and the intensification of neighbourhoods. The student will conduct research on existing models to explore the implications of licensing (for example, would licensing bolster entry without warrants? will required licensing fees trickle down to what the tenant has to pay in rent?).

  1. How might Canada’s legal obligations under U.N. Conventions be raised in courts and tribunals where community legal clinics practice?

Canada must adhere to and is periodically reviewed based on its obligations under U.N. Conventions. The student will explore how we can introduce U.N. conventions into clinic law litigation, by completing a literature review to survey existing research and by looking at how the clinic can implement the U.N. conventions in the work that they do (for example, the Landlord Tenant Board).

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Where Will You be Volunteering?

100 Main St E Suite 203, Hamilton, ON L8N 3W4

HanVoice Support Association (HanVoice)

HanVoice is Canada’s leading North Korea human rights organization. HanVoice advocates for law and policy changes in Canada’s refugee system to facilitate the ability of North Korean defectors to successfully claim refugee status in Canada. PBSC students will assist HanVoice in completing legal research and drafting memos related to the following legal issues:

  1. The use of s. 25.2 in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) when it comes to North Koreans, taking the example of Tibetan and Vietnamese refugees under the section.
  2. How the administrative tribunal works for refugees in Canada, how it applies to North Koreans or not, through the drafting of a memo
  3. How a private sponsorship for North Koreans would work legally

The student can also produce PLE materials (brochures, perhaps a slide presentation) on Canadian refugee policy towards North Koreans applicants by using the legal research that they have completed.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Demonstrated interest in International Human Rights aspects, international refugee Convention, immigration law, and migration issues will be considered assets. Professional/volunteer experience in non-profit/human rights advocacy also a plus.

Justice for Children and Youth

Students are 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?

Research & Writing: Client Assistance & Intake

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 Society of Upper Canada (Discipline Department)

What the student will do depends on what is happening that day, but this will be an interesting place to be since the Department prosecutes licensees who have been accused of serious misconduct. The student could do legal research on case specific issues or on broader policy issues, conduct file analysis, including pulling key documents and preparing proof charts. The student would be able to attend a hearing if one is occurring.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Preference will be given to upper year students who have taken Administrative Law, Judicial Review or other similar courses

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Old Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N6

Law Society of Upper Canada (Trustee Services Department)

The Department takes over the practices of lawyers that have died, left, been disbarred, etc., It is a very busy litigation department at 393 University. The student would be asked to research, do file review, draft affidavits, and there may be some client contact (ex. Notify clients that the department is taking over the practice, etc.,).

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing; Client Assistance & Intake.

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Preference will be given to upper year students who have taken Administrative Law, Judicial Review or other similar courses

Where Will You be Volunteering?

393 University Ave, Toronto, ON, M5G 1E6

Law Students’ Society of Ontario

The Law Students’ Society of Ontario is an advocacy body representing undergraduate (JD) law students at Ontario law schools. Our goal is to articulate student needs 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 conduct legal research to: (1) Highlight current student volunteer programs (PBSC, Investor Protection Clinic, FLP, etc.); (2) highlight gaps in access to justice initiatives where students can assist and outlining best practices from other jurisdictions that may be used to fill the gaps; and (3) provide recommendations to the Law Society of Ontario.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research; Law Reform

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Legal research experience considered an asset. Courses on access to justice or prior access to justice experience would be welcome.

Lewis and Associates

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 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 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research; Law Reform

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 considered an asset.

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.

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, research on statutory interpretation, drafting examination questions, and preparing a factum.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research; Law Reform

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. Past research experience considered an asset.

Olthuis Kleer Townshend (OKT) LLP

OKT works for Indigenous communities to help them get the most of out the Canadian legal system by formulating legal strategies in conjunction with client, with Indigenous self-determination as the foundation. This project will have students conduct legal research on: international legislation, United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Supreme Court cases on various issues that affect Indigenous communities. The students will also complete annotations, which may be used to create a legal database of cases pertaining to Indigenous communities.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Upper-year students or LLM students, previous experience in legal research an asset.

Ontario Deputy Judges Association

The ODJA Legal Internship Program will give four students (2 Osgoode / 2 U of T) the opportunity to provide remote legal research assistance to Deputy Judges in Ontario, who are members of ODJA. Research questions may relate to reserve judgements; and, if there is insufficient work, in the alternative, interns will perform legal research of interest to ODJA through the production of research memoranda or papers. Such alternate work may include research in areas of general application and developing law.

Research topics: It is expected that there will be four research topics selected 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.

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.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in legal research or writing would be considered an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remotely

Rainbow Railroad

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 legal research and document drafting in support of Rainbow Road’s work.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing / Client Intake & Assistance

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Immigration experience/interest would be an asset; additional languages would be an asset. Rainbow Railroad encourages applications from diverse candidates including Indigenous, queer and visible minority candidates

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Mix of remote and attendance at Rainbow Railroad offices near Queen/Spadina

RM Law

Students will provide legal assistance to staff lawyers with legal research, client communication, and document drafting. All students will have the opportunity to work closely with the lawyers at the office on immigration and refugee law related matters, such as Humanitarian and Compassionate applications and other pro bono files.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

None, preference will be given to candidate who have taken, or are taking, courses in immigration or refugee law. Demonstrated interest or studies in immigration and refugee law would be an asset.

West Scarborough Community Legal Services and Willowdale Community Legal Services on behalf of the Greater Toronto Area Social Assistance and Action Committee (SAAC)

SAAC is an inter-clinic working group of community legal clinic lawyers and paralegals from Toronto and York Region who meet monthly to support each other in our work in social assistance  (Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)) and other income maintenance areas and to develop and coordinate systemic advocacy.  We are seeking two students to assist in supporting the work of this committee. This will be a dynamic role that will develop and evolve over the two years based on the current projects of the committee as well as student interest and capacity.

SAAC engages in advocacy at the city level with Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) as well as at the provincial level, in conjunction with our provincial counterpoint the Steering Committee on Social Assistance. For instance in the past year we prepared submissions in support of the report, “Income Security: A Roadmap for Change”, and advocated with TESS around creating a more responsive program for the Housing Stabilization Fund, an emergency fund to enable individuals on OW/ODSP to maintain housing. In the coming year we plan to work on issues of access to benefits for newcomers and refugees, problems in obtaining access to clients’ ODSP files (privacy issue) as well as advocating to protect and strengthen access to adequate social assistance in a changing political climate.  Students will provide research assistance in helping us to choose legal strategies and assist in drafting letters, submissions or other forms of advocacy.  The completed letters, submissions or other forms of advocacy will be the work product and responsibility of SAAC members – student research contributions will be vetted by the lawyer supervisors.

SAAC also works to strengthen the capacity of our members through training and sharing of legal expertise. Throughout the year we hold “Best Practice” discussions at our meetings, which are focused, in-depth discussions of challenging practice issues or areas in need of potential reform.  Students would support these training initiatives through conducting legal research and providing briefing notes to the group to help frame these discussions.

We are also planning a boot camp training day for newer social assistance caseworkers to be held in the Spring.  Students may help to plan this training through surveying clinics on their needs, booking speakers and assisting in preparation of training materials, but at no time will purely administrative work exceed 10% of the work assigned to student volunteers.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Legal Research

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

SAAC meetings are held the fourth Monday of the month from 9:30am – 12pm.  There will be other meetings on an ad hoc basis.  It would be beneficial (but not mandatory) that students attend these sessions as frequently as possible.  Teleconference connection is available for students outside the downtown core.

Students should have a demonstrated interest in clinic/poverty law. We work with diverse communities and welcome individuals from equity seeking groups and who have experience and knowledge of social assistance schemes.