Information on Student-Proposed Internships

IMPORTANT!!! A MAXIMUM OF TWO (2) STUDENT-PROPOSED INTERNSHIPS MAY BE COMPLETED BY STUDENTS DURING THEIR LAW SCHOOL CAREER. The second internship will only be approved if you show that you will be learning new skills and competencies in your second internship compared to your first one.  This must be clearly indicated in the proposal.  Please find the Internship Proposal Form under Application procedures.

Important Instructions

Students must submit their application at least 5 working days prior to the start date of their summer internship in order to get it approved in time. Working hours will only start counting towards the 125 hours, as of the date it has been approved by the Career and Professional Development Center.

ALL changes that occur during internships (change of tasks, areas of law, supervisor, etc.) must be submitted to the Career and Professional Development Center as soon as possible. 

This does not apply for the January term for which the deadline is fixed well in advance of the commencement of term (see below for additional details).  


Common Law students have the opportunity to pursue self-proposed internships during their studies at the University of Ottawa.  They allow students to learn in a more practical setting, explore different legal fields and work environments, and gain new skills and experiences. Internships can be completed during any semester (see Conditions and Eligibility).

Where can law students undertake a Student-Proposed Internship?*

Students can undertake internships with the following:

  • Sole Practitioner.
  • Small, medium, or large-sized firm.
  • Community Legal Clinic.
  • Department or branch of the municipal, provincial or federal government.
  • Non-Governmental Organization, a Not-for-Profit Organization or an organization working in the public interest, in either a domestic or international context.
  • Aboriginal Organization.
  • Canadian Embassies abroad.
  • Legal Department of a bank.
  • Legal Department of a private company (or In-house Counsel).
  • Agency of the United Nations.

What kind of work can a law student do?*

Students can undertake the following tasks during an internship:

  • Legal research: case law and legislation (becoming familiar with using search engines such as LexisNexis Quicklaw and CanLII).
  • Legal writing, such as drafting letters, drafting affidavits, writing short articles, memoranda and research papers, compiling information to create a guidebook, gathering of information on specific topics for lawyers.
  • Assisting lawyers in preparing a client for a hearing.
  • Assisting lawyers in client intake and at times interviewing clients.
  • General interaction with lawyers and clients.
  • Attending proceedings conducted by lawyers in court or in a mediation (attending a hearing, a labour arbitration hearing, a case conference, etc.).
  • Learning about procedural matters for filing documents.
  • Filling out forms (any paper work pertaining to client files).
  • Being exposed to and learning about professional responsibility.
  • Being exposed to and learning about the operation of a small firm or a solo practice.
  • Attending workshops offered by the firm or to the lawyers of the firm.

* These are not exhaustive lists, however they offer a good idea of what a Student-Proposed Internship can look like.  

Conditions and Eligibility

  • Students must have completed their 1st academic year.
  • Students must be enrolled in either the 3 year J.D. or any joint J.D. program.
  • To avoid possible conflict of interest, internships cannot be undertaken under the supervision of a student’s past, present or future employers or volunteer supervisors*. In cases related to future employment or volunteer experiences, this only applies if it is known at the time the proposal is submitted that the student will be employed in the future.  This is not intended to discourage an offer of employment once the internship has been completed.

Please note that depending on the academic term, internships conditions are  different :

  • Fall Term: September through early-December.  Students typically complete their internship hours by interning 1, 1.5 or 2 days a week throughout the term.
  • January Term: Condensed term for three weeks in January.  Students typically complete their internship hours by interning full time for 3 to 4 weeks during the month of January. Internships can be undertaken abroad.
  • Winter Term: February through mid-April.  This term is also condensed and runs for two and a half months.  Students typically complete their internship hours by interning 1.5 to 2 days per week throughout the term.
  • Summer Term: May to end of August, part time during the whole summer or condensed full time (except PDC students). Can be completed as early as the summer after their first academic year. Credits applied in the following fall or winter term. Internships can be undertaken abroad.

* An exception may be granted if the student intends to intern in a different department or with a different supervisor and will thus develop skills different from his past, present or future employment or volunteer experience.

Supervisor Requirements

All students will receive 3 credits upon completion of their internship (graded on a “Satisfactory/Non-Satisfactory” basis).

These credits will be awarded only if:

  • The supervisor is either a practicing lawyer or someone who has received legal training (holds a J.D. or an LL.B.) and who works at the organization or the firm for which you will be completing your internship and who is responsible for supervising your work.
  • The supervisor can be responsible for a maximum of 2 students per academic term. 
  • The work cannot be remunerated.
  • The supervisor must have a minimum of 3 years law-related work experience after graduating law school or 2 years experience as a lawyer after their call to the bar.
  • The work assigned to the student must be law-related.
  • The supervisor must consistently be accessible to students and regularly available to review students legal work as well as to provide guidance and answer the student’s questions.
  • Administrative requirements:
    • Students must discuss work tasks and responsibilities with their supervisor prior to completing their internship proposal. The proposal must be signed by both parties prior to submitting to the Faculty for approval.
    • The supervisor must approve and sign the student’s final report.
    • At the end of the internship, a final evaluation form must be filled by the supervisor, signed by both parties and returned to the Career and Professional Development Center along with the Student’s final report.

Student Requirements

Students are graded on a “Satisfactory/Non Satisfactory” basis.
All students will receive 3 credits upon completion of their internship should they obtain a “Satisfactory” result and if the following conditions have been met:

  • Students are responsible for finding a work placement and a supervisor who is willing to oversee their work.
  • Once the work placement has been established, students submit an electronic application package including 4 forms, 1 of which must be signed and approved by the supervisor and Professional Development Counsellor of the Common Law Section before beginning the internship before beginning the internship. (See Application Procedures) 
  • The student must complete 125 hours of unpaid work.
  • The work must be law-related.
  • The final report must be prepared and submitted by the student and approved by both the supervisor and the Career and Professional Development Center. 
  • The Internship Evaluation Form must be filled out and completed by the internship supervisor at the end of the internship.  Both the supervisor and the student must sign and date this form prior to its return to the Career and Professional Development Center.

For more information, students are encouraged to visit our Student-Proposed Internships FAQpage 

Mandatory Training Session

Students participating in a Student-Proposed Internships are required to attend a mandatory training session before commencing the internship. Details are provided by email to each students once the Professional Development Counsellor approves your internship.

Internship Report

IMPORTANT:  If the student submits a report significantly longer or shorter than the number of pages prescribed in the following instructions, he/she will be asked to re-submit their report in order to have it reviewed and approved by the Career and Professional Development Center. Point form is not accepted. ALL reports must be signed by the student AND the supervisor.

The student must prepare one 7 page final report including the cover page, double spaced in length:

  • The final report must include: 
    • Cover page*: includes student name, student number, organization name, type of report, dates of internship, etc.
    • A break-down of the student’s working hours.
    • Brief introduction of the organization or firm (type, practice areas, mandate, etc.) and why the student was  interested in interning in this work environment.
    • Tasks and activities the student completed throughout his/her internship.
    • Skills the student has developed.
    • Objectives met and learning experience: Which of the student’s objectives have been met and how.
    • Self assessment of the student’s experience: overall impressions, if the internship helped give the student direction in his/her career goals and aspirations, if the internship helped the student establish contacts, if the student would recommend a similar experience to other students, etc. (DO NOT use the evaluation form for your self assessment).

Application Procedures

Students must submit their applications to the Career and Professional Development Center (FTX 233).  All forms are available on line.

Students enrolled in the National Program must have their internship proposal approved by the Director of the National Program, before submitting their application to the Career and Professional Development Center. 


Forms must be filled out and reports must be written in French or English, depending on the language in which the internship will be completed. 

For internships completed abroad in a foreign language, forms and reports must be completed and written in French or English.

French Common law students are required to complete 75% of their 2nd and 3rd year academic credits in the French language, pursuant to Rule 20 of the Academic Regulations . Therefore, an internship completed in a foreign language will be credited as an English Common Law course. Forms and reports must be completed and written accordingly.

The Internship will only be approved if the package includes these four (4) forms, completed and signed.The information must be typed. The application package & forms filled out by hand will be rejected.

  1. Registration Form (Fall, January, Winter Term) OR Registration Form (Summer Term)
  2. Internship Proposal Form
  3. Modification of Registration Form  
  4. Student Declaration of Understanding - Insurance Coverage Form 


    • The proposal form must be type written and filled out in full. Simply referencing a secondary document will not be sufficient.
    • A detailed description including examples must be included in all relevant “Tasks and Activities” and “Skills to be Developed” sections.  If the student does not provide enough substantive details in their proposal, he/she will be required to submit a new form including additional details approved by his/her supervisor. 
    • Information must be typed.

    As an example, tasks and activities limited to legal research and writing case summaries do not justify granting academic credits and the internship proposal will not be approved. The student would have to specify how he/she will be utilizing this research to contribute to work with the organization or firm.

      Modification of Registration Form:


      • The course code is indicated on the registration form.
      • This form is mandatory and must be completed and submitted by the deadline along with the other forms, EVEN if the student has not yet registered to his/her courses for the applicable semester.

      Insurance Coverage:

      • The University of Ottawa Risk Management office has prepared a letter for the internship supervisors which describes changes to the WSIB regime. Your supervisor must keep a copy of the letter Process for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Coverage for their records (sent with email to supervisor). Furthermore, all students participating in internships are required to sign, date and return a Student Declaration of Understanding before they commence an internship. Please submit the form and drop it off in FTX 233 prior to starting your internship or as soon as possible.

      Internship Evaluation Form:


        • The internship supervisor must complete the Internship Evaluation Form and evaluate the student’s performance.  Both the student and the supervisor must sign and date the Form.  The student must submit this form along his/her final report. In order to avoid any confusion, please send documents only once they are duly signed by both parties.


        For Fall and Winter internships:

        In order to take this course you must submit a proposal and obtain written approval from the Career and Professional Development Center. 

        Fall term course code: CML3171F
        Winter term course code: CML3171W

        For any Summer or January term internships :

        To register to this course you must have written approval in advance from the Career and Professional Development Center.  A maximum of 6 credits total, over all upper years of study are permitted for Student Proposed Internships.

        Summer course codes:

        Credits to be applied in the summer (PDC students only):  CML3171S
        Credits to be applied in fall and/or winter:  CML3171SF (credits applied to the fall) and/or CML3171SW (credits applied to the winter)

        January term course code: CML3171J

        If you would like to withdraw from your Student-Proposed Internship course once registered, you must ask for permission in writing to the Career and Professional Development Center. 

        Preserving Documents

        The importance of preserving your documents for your own personal records.

        The Career and Professional Development Centre recommends that you keep a copy of your Student-Proposed Internship documents for the management and preparation of your personal files and recruitment process for your future employers.

        Recommended documents:

        • your internship proposal
        • your Student Declaration of Understanding – Insurance coverage form
        • your final report, signed by you and your supervisor 
        • your internship evaluation form signed by you and completed and signed by your supervisor 
        • your official transcript
        • organize your letters of reference  (if applicable)  
        • prepare other documents and applications (if applicable) 


        Please note that the following deadlines are firm and that there is NO POSSIBILITY OF EXTENSION for ANY of the INTERNSHIPS TERMS. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in observing these deadlines.

        To submit internship applications:

        •  January 2015 Term: September 15, 2014 (Deadline passed, no extension)
        • Winter 2015 Term: January 19, 2015
        •  Summer 2015 Term: June 12, 2015
          •   Fall 2015 Term: TBC
          • January 2016 Term: TBC
          • Summer 2015 Term:  (ATTENTION: Students must submit their application at least 5 working days prior to the start date of their internship)
          • April 24, 2015 - Programme de droit canadien (PDC) students ONLY: to have credits applied in the summer 2015 term
          • June 12, 2015 - to have credits applied in the Fall 2015 or Winter 2016 term

          To submit internship reports:

          • Fall 2014 Term:
            • Final report and Evaluation by supervisor: December 17, 2014  
          •  January 2015 Term:
            • Final report and Evaluation by supervisor: January 26, 2015
          • Winter 2015 Term:
            • Final report and Evaluation by supervisor: April 24, 2015 



          Career and Professional Development Center 
          Common Law Section, FTX 233 
          Tel. (613) 562-5800 (2514) 
          Fax (613) 562-5875

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