Osgoode Hall Law School was the first Canadian law school to introduce a public interest graduation requirement. Adopted in 2006, the requirement extends Osgoode’s tradition of promoting public service while advancing innovative learning methods.
You can fulfill this 40-hour requirement through both credit and non-credit placements, engaging with clients, the public sector, community organizations, the judiciary, legal organizations and private bar lawyers. The OPIR creates opportunities to expand access to justice, identify areas of interest, gain practical skills, meet mentors and potential employers, and generally experience the practice of law.
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Criteria: Public Interest, Law-Related, Uncompensated
Your work in fulfillment of the OPIR must be:
- In the public interest. It must facilitate access to justice, seek substantive law reform, or provide services that build the capacity of organizations or communities to engage with the law and legal processes.
- Law-related. It must involve applying and interpretating law; formulating legal policy; participating in the drafting of legislation and regulations; reforming the law; reaching out to communities on legal issues; engaging in public legal education; or participating in community organizing or community development activities.
- Uncompensated. Neither you nor the lawyer or organization supervising your OPIR work may be compensated. You can fulfill the requirement with a private firm, provided the firm is doing the work you’re supporting on a pro bono basis.
Reflective Component: Discussion or Essay
After completing the 40 hours of OPIR work, you must either participate in a three-hour group discussion or write a five-page reflective paper. Your reflections should consider how your OPIR experience relates to the topics covered in the first-year ethical lawyering course. Additional details are available on the Post-Placement Evaluation page on MyJD.
This program is funded in part by the Law Foundation of Ontario.