Legal Aid Ontario Lawyer Workforce Strategy has welcomed 59 articling students so far … and counting
Posted on: Thursday, June 28, 2012
A profile of Legal Aid Ontario’s Audrey Alix
Law student Audrey Alix, one of the 51 articling students who earned the opportunity to begin their legal career at Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) this year, is looking forward to making a tangible contribution to the lives of marginalized and vulnerable people in Ontario.
“I’ve been here for a month,” she says, “And it’s already more than met my expectations for hands-on experience in the areas where I am most interested – refugees and immigration.”
Audrey is a great fit at LAO – and vice versa – for many reasons.
For one thing, she is multilingual. Audrey grew up speaking English and Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. She started in French immersion in kindergarten, and started studying Spanish in elementary school once she got to Grade 7.
Upon graduation, she achieved a bilingual undergraduate degree in international studies, with a minor in refugee and migration studies. Law school was in French, at the University of Ottawa’s French common law program. Then she put her working knowledge of Spanish to work during a five-month break from her legal studies in Geneva, interning for the United Nations. Audrey conducted legal research, in English and Spanish, in the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division.
"LAO welcomes Audrey and her peers as part of an inclusive talent recruitment initiative – our Lawyer Workforce Strategy. This initiative reflects the reality that LAO is, in fact, a large law firm, with offices and lawyers across Ontario. We want to be able to support everyone in need of our services, no matter how remote the location.”
– Sue McCaffrey, LAO’s Vice President and General Counsel
In addition, Audrey is hard-wired to make a difference. She has been volunteering at soup kitchens and charity events, among other activities, for many years. One of her proudest achievements: she helped introduce the World University Service of Canada, which sponsors a refugee student every year, to Toronto’s Glendon College.
Audrey’s ongoing work in social justice won her the Scotiabank International Scholarship Award in 2008, the Friends of Glendon Award in 2007 and the Rotary Youth Leadership Award in 2005.
Now Audrey is poised for a career that combines her four languages, passion for advocacy and law degree. Most LAO lawyers-in- training learn and grow through rotating placements throughout the province over their 10 months. But Audrey was thrilled to find that her first rotation would be at LAO’s Refugee Law Office – her first choice.
“I’m meeting with clients, reviewing applications for refugee status, assisting legal research and preparing records,” she says. “I’ll be shadowing counsel at federal court to learn more about strategies in litigation and advocacy. I’ll even represent clients at refugee hearings. That’s a lot more than articling students at other organizations can expect. I’m very grateful!”
The chances of joining Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) as an articling student are better than ever.
While 75-150 students apply every year to do their articles at LAO, 51 articling students were selected in 2011-12 – way up from eight positions the year before.
LAO is welcoming this growing number of students as part of an inclusive Lawyer Workforce Strategy initiative it began three years ago. Its goal: to attract and retain a province-wide team of lawyers, from summer and articling students through to those with years of experience to offer.
For further information on working for LAO, contact LAO’s Human Resources toll-free at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-800-668-8258.