Legal Aid Ontario partners with Humber College to support paralegal students
Posted on: Monday, November 12, 2012
Toronto – Legal Aid Ontario has partnered with Humber College Lakeshore Campus’s four-year degree Paralegal Studies program to help its students gain hands-on experience in the justice system at work placements throughout the GTA and, possibly, consider a career in poverty law.
“Our goal is to establish a paralegal student clinical experience in partnership with Humber College, complement the existing curriculum and promote awareness of the unique needs of poverty law clients.”
– LAO’s project coordinator Ann McRae, who delivered guest lectures on legal aid and on legal writing to Humber’s paralegal students earlier this year.
LAO approached Humber to provide paralegal students with opportunities for an enriched learning experience, as part of its larger strategy to make more use of paralegals.
Work placements for paralegal students
LAO worked closely with Humber’s program staff to integrate information about LAO into the curriculum for its paralegal students.
In addition, LAO helped eight Humber paralegal students’ meet their requirements for 14 weeks of paid work related to their studies. LAO provided these students with summer job placements. Last summer, between their third and final fourth year in the program:
- Four Humber paralegal students worked at community legal clinics (in Mississauga, Unison, West Scarborough and Flemingdon).
- Three supported criminal duty counsel at courthouses in Etobicoke, Brampton and College Park.
- One supported LAO’s Refugee Law Office.
Once the academic year began again in Sept. 2012, all the students returned to their classes, and four made the time to volunteer one day a week at their placements.
Benefits for LAO clients, paralegals and Humber
These placements provided low-income people with access to paralegal students who delivered the information, resources and referrals they needed to make informed decisions about their legal matters.
They also gave paralegal students the opportunity to develop advocacy skills, gain experience in poverty, criminal and refugee law and test drive legal aid careers.
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