Legal Aid Ontario Lawyer Workforce Strategy has welcomed 59 articling students so far … and counting
Posted on: Monday, July 9, 2012
A profile of Legal Aid Ontario’s Joo Eun Kim
University of Toronto Law School graduate Joo Eun’s fellow law school students applied to many different private law firms all over Ontario for summer and articling jobs. But he was so committed to a career in social justice that Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) was the only place he applied.
The result: Joo Eun is one of eight students currently completing articles at LAO through its Lawyer Workforce Strategy, an inclusive talent recruitment initiative LAO initiated three years ago to provide rewarding and challenging careers for lawyers throughout their careers. Another 51 articling students are joining LAO for 10 months in 2011-12 through this same initiative.
Our articling students are our pipeline to our future workforce. We hope they stay with us and expand our capacity to bring the best and highest quality service to our clients, no matter what area of the law they require or where in the province they live.”
– Sue McCaffrey, LAO’s Vice President and General Counsel.
Joo Eun’s desire for meaningful work came early. Born in South Korea, he and his family arrived in Ontario when Joo Eun was 10 years old. “Our family wasn’t well off, and my parents went back to Korea when I was 16,” he recalls. “After they left, I was lucky enough to find other people to whom I could turn for guidance and love. Many new immigrants don’t have that kind of support. I wanted a career where I could return the favour.”
He first came in contact with LAO while volunteering at his university’s student legal aid clinic. When he learned that LAO would be coming to his school’s on-campus interviews, he recalls, “I seized the opportunity and applied.”
LAO has turned out to be the perfect place from for him to “return the favour,” as he puts it.
While most of his peers spend their articling months conducting research and looking up case law for one firm, Joo Eun gained exposure to – and support in – diverse, substantive areas of the law through rotating placements. He has worked for LAO’s family law service centre in North York, criminal duty counsel at College Park, the Refugee Law Office and the Office of General Counsel and LAO Law.
“Through the Lawyer Workforce Strategy, I’ve gotten to meet with clients and appear in court,” he says. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many different areas of the law from dedicated, incredible lawyers and other staff.”
That’s exactly how the initiative is supposed to work. “We developed our Lawyer Workforce Strategy to attract dedicated, talented young people like Joo Eun Kim who are eager to attain a comprehensive understanding of Legal Aid Ontario – its services, its clients and its business,” says Sue McCaffrey, LAO’s Vice President and General Counsel.
“Our articling students are our pipeline to our future workforce. We hope they stay with us and expand our capacity to bring the best and highest quality service to our clients, no matter what area of law they require or where in the province they live.”
Joo Eun intends to do just that.
“When I finished law school about a year ago, I was interested in criminal law, immigration and family law,” says Joo Eun, “but at this point in my career, I still don’t know what area I want to specialize in. Fortunately, at LAO, that’s not a problem. I have opportunities in many areas of the law, all over Ontario.”
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 to those with years of experience to offer.
Get more information
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.