Frequently Asked Questions about the OPIR

Who has to fulfill the Osgoode Public Interest Requirement (OPIR)?

All students seeking an Osgoode JD must complete the 40-hour requirement and the critical reflection evaluation.

What’s the critical reflection evaluation requirement?

You have the option of writing a five-page reflective paper OR participating in a three-hour facilitated discussion with other students who have completed the 40-hour requirement. See the Post-Placement Evaluation page on MyJD for more information.

What kind of work qualifies for the public interest requirement?

The work must be law-related, uncompensated, in the public interest and supervised by a qualified lawyer. See the main OPIR page for more information, or speak to the OPIR Office if you need further clarification or have questions about a specific placement.

Where should I look for public interest opportunities?

You can fulfill the OPIR through a number of established programs and placements, listed here. If you wish, you can also source your own public interest placement, in consultation with the Osgoode Public Interest Requirement Office. Remember that your placement must be approved by the OPIR Director before work begins.

Do I have to do this work in a non-profit setting?

No. Your work must be uncompensated, but students pursue OPIR placements in a wide range of contexts: for example, with community legal clinics, government agencies, sole practitioners, self-regulated professional organizations, law faculty, the judiciary, law firms providing pro bono work or non-governmental organizations with public interest mandates.

Would other volunteer work meet the public interest requirement. For example, can I volunteer with Meals on Wheels?

The work must be law-related. Your work must involve the application or interpretation of law, formulating legal policy, participating in client legal representation, public outreach on legal issues, public legal education or other law-related community engagement or development activity.

Is it acceptable to work more than 40 hours?

Yes. Many students complete more than 40 hours, either due to personal interest or the requirements of their specific placement.

Can I complete the 40-hour requirement at more than one placement?

Yes. Multiple placements can be registered on MyJD, and you can accumulate a total of 40 hours by working for shorter periods on two or more projects.

Can I work outside of Ontario or Canada?

Yes. There is no geographic boundary to where you can fulfill the OPIR, and many organizations nationally and internationally may be suitable. The OPIR Director must approve your placement before work begins.

Does travel time count toward the requirement?

No. Only your legal work counts toward your 40 hours; travel time is excluded.

How is my completion of OPIR recorded?

The Assistant Dean, Students will receive a list of students who have fulfilled the public interest requirement: the 40 hours of work as well as the reflective component. Recognition of the completion of the public interest requirement will appear on your transcript upon graduation.

What happens if I don’t meet the 40-hour requirement or complete the evaluation?

You will not graduate. The OPIR is a graduation requirement; the requirement includes both the 40 hours of work and the critical evaluation process (the paper or facilitated discussion). If you do not complete it by the deadline for graduation audits – typically April of your third year – you will not be able to graduate.

More Detail:

Finding an OPIR Placement

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Contact the OPIR Office

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Host a Student: Become an OPIR Partner

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