Careers at LAO
Programs for law students and articling students
Are you looking for a meaningful career?
Are you interested in engaging work that has an impact on the lives of vulnerable people?
Would you like to work with an organization that recognizes your individuality and interests, and offers you a future in an environment that values diversity and public service?
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is looking for bright legal talent like you!
Bring us your ambition to work in the field of social justice, your desire for a variety of work, and your passion for a career serving low-income individuals.
We can give you hands-on experience on the front lines in the social justice field, contact with clients, and a career path in an innovative and flexible legal environment.
Summer law program
Our summer students typically begin their placement with us in May and end it in August. During this time, summer law students become an important part of our legal team.
The summer law student program is open to first- and second-year students enrolled in a recognised law school.
LAO participates in the second-year summer student On Campus Interview (OCI) process.
What we look for in our law students
Every year, LAO recruits talented law students and provides them with a gateway to a varied and rewarding career in the social justice field. LAO provides long-term career development for law students, including opportunities for work in various areas of law in locations all across the province.
LAO looks for the following skills and experience when hiring law students:
- Attends recognized law school
- Demonstrated commitment to social justice or public interest work
- Demonstrated excellent writing and oral skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Understanding of LAO’s mandate and services
- Ability to work independently, solve complex problems, build relationships, and work with teams
- French language or other language skills (a preferred asset).
What law students can expect from LAO
- A varied career path that will expose you to a number of practice areas in a variety of LAO business lines
- Career support through orientation, mentoring and professional development
- Opportunities to work in geographic locations throughout the province, and the option of applying for secondments with other public sector employers
- Training opportunities to become a legal specialist, or a future leader of the organization
- A diverse workplace that values your desire to pursue interests outside of work
- Competitive compensation and the possibility of flexible work arrangements
- Experience in multiple areas of law, such as criminal, family, poverty, refugee.
Why article here?
Since 2009, articling law students working for LAO have experienced a wide range of learning and training opportunities. Unlike corporate offices, which tend to focus on one area of law, LAO provides fulfilling and educational experiences in the range of overlapping legal service needs of low-income Ontarians.
Articling students learn about the justice system from the inside out through family law, criminal law and refugee law rotations. They have the opportunity to assist seasoned professionals, such as advice and duty counsel, who are eager to advise them and share their experiences. They also interact with lawyers, police officers, court clerks, mental health workers, court reporters and mediators.
To be eligible for the articling program, candidates must have either completed law school at the start of the articling period or have received a certificate of qualification from the National Committee of Accreditation. In all cases, candidates must be registered with the Law Society's licensing process in order to be eligible to receive credit.
The types of work our articling students do
Bail work: Interview accused, contact and verify sureties, conduct surety interviews, act as intermediary between duty counsel and private counsel, facilitate interviews for duty counsel.
Duty counsel: Help unrepresented people in family court to draft applications, affidavits and motions, prepare lists of cases, summaries of cases and case books that could be accessed by duty counsel, observe courtroom presentations and assist with client meetings.
Legal research: Research points of law in support of legal aid certificate lawyers. Develop new legal research material for publishing on the web.
Policy development: Assist policy counsel in providing research and advice to LAO on service delivery, legislative changes, prioritization and accountabilities.
Area office work: Work with LAO area office staff to assist clients in completing intake information (financial statements) and regular follow-up, prepare and file court documents, attend court and client appointments, research and prepare case reports.
How to apply
LAO’s job postings are on our Careers at Legal Aid Ontario page. Our calls for applications, interviews and offers of employment are in line with Law Society of Upper Canada's recruitment timelines.