CLS for Law Students
Second and Third Year Students
Community Legal Services (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 Clinical Practice Skills, along with one of the following courses: Criminal Clinic, Civil Clinic, or Family Clinic. Students who have taken these courses qualify for Advanced Clinic courses in Criminal, Civil and Family Law. 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.
CLS lawyers (called Review Counsel) supervise around 800-1000 files per year.
First Year Students
The CLS Associate Caseworker Program provides 1L students with the opportunity to volunteer in a legal clinic under the mentorship of an upper year student and Review Counsel. You will have meaningful exposure to active legal files and 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 welcomes 10 1L students a term for a total of 20 per academic year. As an Associate Caseworker, you will be assigned to an upper year student Team Leader. You will meet with your Team Leader regularly, and will:
- Attend duty hours
- Attend court or a tribunal hearing
- Participate in a Public Legal Education project
- Attend meetings with Review Counsel
- Attend an intake interview with a new client
Recruitment for 1L students begins in September. Advertisements for the opportunity are posted in the SLS Daily emails. Those who wish to apply must submit their resume, and cover letter. Applications are reviewed by Review Counsel and successful applicants are contacted shortly after.
If you are not selected for CLS, there are many other clinic 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 reach out to any Review Counsel lawyer if you have any questions.
CLS hires around 10 law students for summer positions. These students remain with CLS in the following academic year to act as Team Leaders who assist the other students working in the clinic. Look for our hiring announcement in January.