The Schlifer Clinic offers a number of different student education programs in Toronto and across the country. Volunteer and placement opportunities exist through the academic year and over the summer. More information on these programs and opportunities can be found below.
This program has been available since 1996 to a qualified student enrolled in a Canadian law school.
It is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario and is administered by Pro Bono Students Canada.
It offers an alternative articling experience, focusing on public interest/social justice advocacy
The successful applicant will be involved in all aspects of the delivery of family and immigration/refugee law services, including:
- providing information and summary legal advice (under a lawyers’ supervision)
- drafting pleadings
- developing litigation strategies
- investigating and preparing client cases (documentation, evidence)
- interviewing clients
- managing client files
- legal research
- representing clients in proceedings according to the Rules of relevant courts/tribunals
Opportunities also exist to assist in the delivery of public legal education programs and to engage in various systemic advocacy initiatives. The student is expected to carry a caseload of files, and engage in ongoing supervision and training.
We appreciate the on-going support of the Law Foundation of Ontario and Pro Bono Students Canada.
For more than a decade, the Clinic has delivered a Clinical Education program for second and third year law students at the University of Toronto.
Each year the Clinic recruits four to six students to work with our staff lawyers in family, immigration and refugee, and criminal law matters.
Students are exposed to a full range of legal applications in these areas of law and have extensive opportunity to work closely with both lawyers and clients.
Students are expected to:
- do a weekly shift at the Clinic
- carry a caseload of five or more files
- attend orientation and ongoing training at the Clinic
- attend monthly seminars
- consult regularly with staff lawyers.
Students receive academic credit for this placement.
Students play a vital role in the delivery of our programs and services and contribute enormously to our efforts to pursue legal remedies to redress the harms of violence.
Students should submit a resume and letter of interest in early spring for placement the following September.
We thank the University of Toronto Law School for its ongoing promotion and support of this program.
In 2012 the Schlifer Clinic established its first Family Court Support Project (FCSP) in collaboration with Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC).
Eight law students from Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Toronto Law School will assist in the delivery of the Clinic’s Family Court Support program at the Ontario Courts of Justice.
The Family Court Support program is a new initiative of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, operates across the province and is intended to assist victims of domestic violence to navigate the family court process.
The range of services include:
- provision of legal information about family law and available remedies
- risk assessment and safety planning
- referral to court-based legal professionals and other legal resources (Legal Aid Ontario and the Family law Bar where possible)
- court accompaniment and debriefing
- referral to community services
Interested students should contact their PBSC coordinator in early September. Students are recruited and trained by PBSC.
Students from law schools across Canada volunteer their services to the Clinic year-round.
The Clinic provides interested students/volunteers with opportunities to engage in direct services to clients as well as to participate in various systemic initiatives, research or other projects undertaken by the Clinic from time to time.
- Family Court Support Program
- Legal Department Volunteers in Family, Refugee, and Immigration Law
The Family Court Support Program is a front-line service delivery program that assists women in the three Toronto-area family courts.
As a volunteer, you would assist social workers to provide women with nonlegal support and advocacy. Work may include providing legal information (not advice), emotional support (not counselling), note-taking at court appearances, and assistance with connecting clients to legal aid, housing services, or income support.
Expectations and Commitment
Court is a fast-paced environment and the work may involve high-risk cases. The work can be chaotic and stressful. Volunteers are expected to be respectful of clients and court staff at all times, to follow instructions given by the supervising court support worker, to arrive for shifts and complete tasks in a timely manner, and to act professionally and with courtesy. Volunteers will be working in a demanding front-line position that requires a high degree of maturity and the ability to multi-task.
Our Court Support volunteers typically work in weekly “shifts”. Morning shifts are from 10 am-1pm, and afternoon shifts are from 2 pm-5 pm.
Volunteers are expected to commit to a minimum of 12-weeks in the program. The Family Court Support Program is the only volunteering opportunity in the legal department for people without legal training. Typically, volunteers are law students, social work students, former Clinic legal department volunteers, lawyers and social workers who are between jobs, or some combination of the above. Women with previous experience providing front-line assistance and/or relevant training are encouraged to apply (ex. volunteering at a sexual assault centre, women’s centre, or crisis line, demonstrated interest in social justice work, knowledge/practice of anti-oppression approaches, volunteering in an outreach capacity).
All volunteers and students are expected to be aware of and to abide by the Schlifer Clinic Mission and Value Statements.
How to Apply
Submit your resume, and include the following information:
- Describe your interest or experience in social justice and/or women’s rights;
- Describe your interest or experience volunteering /working/being trained for a relevant client-services role;
- Provide your available time commitment (preferred or possible “shifts” per week, including day of week, and proposed start and end dates of the placement);
- Send a list of courses taken in family law, social justice or women’s rights. (Marks are not necessary, a course list is fine).
We do our best to place all accepted volunteers, but sometimes we are simply not able to do so. We will let you know as soon as possible if this is the case.
To be considered, please forward the above information to Faith-Ann Mendes email@example.com