CLS for Law Students

Second and Third Year Students

CLS is a leader among Canadian clinics with its facilities, innovative approach, and its commitment to access to justice.

Community Legal Services gives you:

  • The opportunity to experience the practice of law in a real life setting.
  • The chance to help low income persons in the community who have nowhere else to turn for help with their legal problems.
  • The ability to improve your learning skills by putting to work what you have learned in class.
  • An advantage when you attend articling interviews with the experience you receive.

To qualify as a caseworker, 2L and 3L students must take one of three clinical courses: Litigation Practice, Criminal Law Advocacy, and CLS Internship. There are also some specialized teams (non-credit) where students can volunteer.

CLS caseworkers handle all aspects of a client file, from first interview all the way to trial. You will have a real client with a real file and you appear in front of a real judge. All cases are closely supervised by CLS lawyers.

Under the leadership of CLS Director Doug Ferguson, CLS lawyers (called review counsel) supervise around 1,000 files per year.

First Year Students

The CLS 1L Associate Caseworker Program provides 1L students with the opportunity to volunteer in a legal clinic under the mentorship of upper year student supervisors and clinic lawyers. You will have meaningful exposure to active legal files and will be encouraged to develop key legal skills. We strive to bring law students together to share resources, meet community legal needs, and develop a strong team.

CLS takes a total of 24-26 1L students for the academic year. As an associate caseworker, you will be assigned to an upper year student supervisor. You will meet weekly with the supervisor, and you will:

  • Attend duty hours;
  • Attend at least one court or tribunal hearing;
  • Participate in a Public Legal Education project;
  • Attend a meeting with a clinic lawyer;
  • Attend a minimum of two intake interviews with new clients;
  • Research an area of law for a client file;
  • Attend a trial preparation meeting.

CLS Director Doug Ferguson will speak to the 1L class on Thursday, September 6 at 3:00 PM. Applications are due in hard copy at Community Legal Services in Room 126 on September 11, 2018 at 4:00 PM. Interviews will take place over the following weekend, and offers will be made early the following week.

If you are not selected for CLS, there are many other opportunities, such as Pro Bono Students Canada, and the Dispute Resolution Centre. Please keep in mind for next year that any 2L and 3L student can work in CLS by simply taking a clinical course; having been a 1L Associate Caseworker is not required.

Everyone at CLS looks forward to meeting 1L students, and working with the successful applicants. Please speak to Doug Ferguson or any clinic lawyer or staff if you have any questions.

Summer Students

CLS hires around 10 law students for summer positions. These students remain with CLS in the following academic year to act as supervisors who assist the other students working in the clinic. Look for our hiring announcement in January.