Law Student Information

Upper year law students have the opportunity to work as caseworkers at the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic (the "Clinic") either during the summer, during the school year in the Introductory or Advanced Legal Aid Clinic courses (where they earn six credits working on client files and gain practical legal skills) or through our joint placement course. The Clinic course and joint placement course satisfy the oral advocacy "moot court" requirement of the Common Law Section of the Faculty of Law.

Under the supervision of Review Counsel, caseworkers learn how to manage a file from the first client interview to the last court or tribunal appearance on that client's behalf.

Please note that the students hired as employees during the summer must continue working at the Clinic during the following academic year as Division Leaders by being enrolled in the Advanced Legal Aid Clinic Course (6 credit course). These students are not required to attend the weekly seminar class.

Why Join the Clinic?

By joining the Clinic as caseworkers, students interested in both advocacy and social justice can gain practical experience and make a meaningful contribution to the community. Many law students do not get practical legal experience before graduating and articling - some have never seen the inside of a court room or tribunal!

Working at the Clinic provides law students with hands-on experience as they manage client files, make court or tribunal appearances, or provide legal information to community organizations. The Clinic introduces students to issues and skills relevant to the practice of law.

Under the supervision of lawyers, caseworkers at the Clinic learn and perform a variety of skills, such as:

  • Conducting interviews of clients seeking legal advice and information;
  • Conducting legal research on client files;
  • Drafting letters, pleadings, memoranda, and other legal documents;
  • Negotiating with Crown Attorneys or opposing parties;
  • Advocacy at pre-trials, trials, and hearings before courts and tribunals;
  • Examining and cross-examining witnesses; 
  • Preparing and making submissions to a court or tribunal; 
  • File and practice management;
  • Professional responsibility;
  • Making presentations on different areas of law to the public;
  • Providing tenant duty counsel services at the Landlord and Tenant Board; and
  • Assisting women who have been the victims of violence in receiving compensation.

How You Can Participate

First-year law students:

The Clinic generally holds an open house and information sessions for first-year students, typically in the fall of every year. Students who want to receive general information about the Clinic may attend one of these sessions.

Once students have attended an information session, they can sign up to shadow a current Clinic student caseworker. This allows the First year student to get familiar with the Clinic's practices as they can shadow various Clinic tasks, such as a file review with a supervision lawyer. This shadowing does not require a set number of hours and is not a volunteer position. 

Upper year students:

1. Summer Employment

Law students also have the opportunity to join the Clinic as a summer student after completing their first year or second year of law school. Please see the Positions Available section for more details.

2. Clinic Course

Second and third-year law students are eligible to take the Introductory Legal Aid Clinic course if they have not worked at the Clinic as caseworkers before, while those students who have worked as caseworkers would register for the Clinical Legal Aid II or III courses. Students registered in the Introductory Legal Aid Clinic Course must attend a weekly training seminar during the Fall semester.

The Clinic courses are worth six credits and last the entire school year (September to April). Throughout the courses, caseworkers are evaluated on a pass/fail basis for their work.

Note: The Clinic does not conduct intake interviews of new clients during student exam sessions in December and April or during readings weeks (October, January, and February) so that casework duties do not conflict with examinations and essay deadlines but caseworkers remain responsible for their files.

3. Joint Placement Course

During the academic year, students can be placed in external community clinics or Legal Aid offices. Students must apply to take part in the Joint Placement Course and must be selected by the organization. Students registered in the Joint Placement Course must attend a weekly training seminar during the Fall semester.

The Joint Placement course is worth six credits and lasts the entire school year (September to April). Throughout the courses, caseworkers are evaluated on a pass/fail basis for their work.

Please check our How to Apply page for more information regarding the application times and procedures for summer employment, Clinic Course, and Joint Placement Course.

A note on January Term: 

Clinic duties continue as usual during the January Term each year, although the Clinic does not hold drop-in hours for new clients during the last week of January to accommodate January Term examinations and break. Students cannot register for internships or international courses during the January term as these courses do not allow students to do their Clinic work during the January term. Students must register for a regular course during the January term.

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