Research and Writing

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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


Advocacy Centre for the Elderly: Lecture Research

Students will help to organize and prepare a special lecture for ACE members, older adults and the elder-law community on Medical Aid in Dying. Students will assist with research in preparation for the lecture, and organization of the lecture. Students will additionally perform outreach in the community to promote this event.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Health and/or Elder Law interest, studies or experience is an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Mostly remote, occasionally at 2 Carlton Street, Suite 701, Toronto, ON M5B 1J3


Advocacy Centre for the Elderly: Policy Research

ACE makes submissions to government on legal issues as they arise in health law and other age-related areas. Students will work under the supervision of a Staff Research and Policy Lawyer to prepare research memoranda that will assist the clinic in preparing submissions.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Health and/or Elder Law interest, studies or experience is an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Mostly remote, occasionally at 2 Carlton Street, Suite 701, Toronto, ON M5B 1J3


Advocacy Centre for the Elderly: Newsletter

Students will work with ACE to generate blog posts to inform individuals of important legislation and their rights in plain language. These blog posts may end up posted on the CBA National Elder Law Section to help inform CBA members of current elder law issues. Students will work on social media to generate catchy posts and better disseminate this information. In the winter, students will assist with editing and publication of the ACE Newsletter to be circulated in the community covering current elder law topics of general interest to older adults.

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Health and/or Elder Law interest, studies or experience is an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Mostly remote, occasionally at 2 Carlton Street, Suite 701, Toronto, ON M5B 1J3


Health Professionals Appeal and Review Board

PBSC students are needed to summarize key Health Professions Appeal & Review Board (HPARB) decisions as headnotes for posting onto HPARB decisions in CanLII in order to improve public and party access to key registration decisions. The headnotes will also form the substance of an HPARB Registration Decision Resource – a compilation of registration decision headnotes, organized by substantive issue and by regulatory college – helping assure a consistent application of principles in the assessment of issues and direction given by HPARB panels to regulatory colleges.

HPARB hears cases where a health professional College has refused an individual’s application for registration to practice in Ontario as a health professional. The majority of such individuals come before the Board without legal representation. Even parties with representation may not be aware of previous registration decisions and registration principles relevant to their case. In addition, HPARB, with its many part-time panel members from across the province, needs to apply consistent principles and gives consistent direction to regulatory health colleges in professional registration matters.

The Mandatory HPARB Training is on Friday September 29 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Health Services Appeal and Review Board, located at 151 Bloor Street West on the 9th Floor

Issues that can be the subject of a hearing or review can include:

  • equivalency of international education
  • examination requirements
  • past conduct concerns
  • language proficiency
  • inter-provincial mobility

The students will work in teams of two to prepare headnotes for Health Boards decisions. Twelve selected registration decisions will be summarized by students (250-500 words each). There may also be special assignments for individual students, including updating the registration resource compilation.

There will also be opportunities for PBSC students to participate as case clerks for hearings, schedules permitting – having first hand opportunity to observe the adjudicative process, including confidential panel deliberations. (As a case clerk, the law student will attend Board hearings or reviews. He or she will be responsible for reviewing the case materials prior to the scheduled hearing date and sitting in on panel deliberations immediately before and after the hearing. Students are generally expected to take notes (on a laptop) during the hearing to supplement notes for the panel, and occasionally, other assistance as directed by the presiding panel member.)

All students will be required to sign confidentiality agreements and observe conflict of interest protocols.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing; Client Assistance & Intake

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

None

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Meeting space is provided at 151 Bloor Street W, 9th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5S 2C7. Students will be required to attend group meetings on Friday afternoons, about once per month.


Canadian Civil Liberties Association: Legal Research

Students will be asked to do legal research and prepare memoranda on various topics by the CCLA’s Program Directors. This may include case briefs, reviews of draft or proposed legislation, policy reviews and research memoranda on fundamental freedoms, police powers, national security, equality and civil liberties public education.

How Many Students?

4 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Completed course on constitutional / public law. Interest in CCLA and/or fundamental rights and freedoms

English/French bilingualism would be an asset

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remote and at 90 Eglinton Ave E, Suite 900, Toronto, ON, M4P 2Y3


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


Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights

CLAIHR can provide students the opportunity to gain practical experience writing about key international human rights issues. CLAIHR requires student support to develop and maintain its blog, and particularly to:

  • – Assist in brainstorming for unique blog pieces regarding international human rights issues
  • – Draft 5 blog posts over 5 months, under the supervision of Lawyer Supervisors
  • – Conduct legal research in support of blog posts; and
  • – Edit and fact check draft posts.

The goal is to develop original, unique Canadian content to contribute to the national and international public discourse regarding international human rights.

An academic or practitioner in the field oversees the students research and provide a mentoring role with the students indicating issues to focus on and improving their understanding of the subject matter.

How Many Students?

2 students

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Interest in Human Rights would be an asset. Upper year students will be given preference

Where Will You be Volunteering?

Remotely


Centre Francophone de Toronto – Services d’Aide Juridique

Students will assist the services d’aide juridique with a variety of legal research and writing projects, including but not limited to:

  • Research and writing pieces for the CFT newsletter
  • Develop, research and write materials for Public Legal Education workshops
  • Develop research and write materials for pamphlets
  • Prepare Research Memos on discrete legal questions as assigned

How Many Students?

1 student

What kind of Project?

Research & Writing; Public Legal Education

Who Can Apply?

1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Prerequisites / Assets?

Students must speak/write French; Interest in legal writing, client assistance and social justice is an asset; Experience working with youth, anti-oppressive framework is an asset

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


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


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