Student Programs

“I’ve learnt more from you than from all of my classes—about the law, about practice, about the profession and my place in it. I have gained a confidence that I couldn’t have found anywhere else, and I’m sure that I will owe much of my future success to the things I learned from you.”

DLS offers many for credit and volunteer opportunities for students to get involved. Working at the clinic offers students the opportunity to learn crucial professional skills and ethics in a public interest context that emphasizes intellectual discovery and practical experience. The chance to make a difference in the lives of our clients adds important elements of meaning and satisfaction as well. Students frequently tell us that working at the clinic is “the best thing I did at law school”.

Credit Program:

DLS has two clinical programs for credit: the part-time program (6 credits) and the clinical intensive (15 credits). Students enrol in one of the clinic’s five divisions, corresponding to an area of law: criminal law, family law, refugee law, housing law and university affairs. In these divisions, they learn about the social and economic context of the clinic’s clients, the legal aid landscape, substantive law and legal process for their division, and professional skills and ethics, such as client counselling, negotiating and trial advocacy.

“I loved my DLS experience and learned so much in a way that I never could have in the classroom. From the court appearance to the ride-along, my law school experience would have been incomplete without it.”

In both programs, students will have the opportunity to work with real clients on pressing legal issues. Credit students also participate in our community outreach program, attending satellite clinics and working on public legal education materials and/or presentations. In addition to their clinical work, students attend seminars and write a series of short reflective papers. Students in the intensive also write an additional longer, research paper. For more information about these programs, and the process for enrolling, see the on-line course descriptions in the Faculty of Law Academic Handbook.

Volunteer Program:

Students in all years of study are eligible to participate in the Volunteer Program. The Volunteer Program is a two-term, full year commitment.

All DLS volunteers participate in weekly phone screening shifts under the supervision of experienced upper year DLS caseworkers. Volunteers who have attended the required additional training are also eligible to participate in the Community Outreach Program and to get involved in casework.

Due to capacity issues, the number of volunteers in both the First Year and Upper Year volunteer programs are capped. Click here for more information about our 2017-2018 volunteer program.

2017-2018 volunteer application deadline is 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Friday, September 15, 2017. Click here for the application form.

Summer Caseworkers:

“Thanks for providing me with such a great opportunity and amazing support to make a difference. This level of fulfillment seems to be, so far, unmatched in corporate law.”
—Email from former student 1 year after graduation

Every summer, DLS hires a number of students to work at the clinic full-time for the summer term (16 weeks). Summer students work on case files, attend satellite clinics, present public legal education workshops and assist with various administrative tasks at the clinic. Extensive training is provided, and both first year and second year students are eligible to apply. Previous participation at DLS is a major asset.

Summer caseworkers are required to act as division leaders until graduation, and to take a DLS clinical course in the academic year following the summer.

DLS participates in the Faculty’s Unified Public Interest Summer Hiring Process. Deadlines for this process are set by the Faculty’s CDO office and advertised extensively over the Fall term.