Articling student deems legal aid placement a “perfect” experience
Friday, February 22, 2013
Instead of “pushing paper in an office setting,” articling student Ian Dupont’s experience with LAO is so hands-on that he’s often the first person clients work with at the Chatham courthouse.
“Everyone is entitled to fair access to justice. I wanted to article with LAO because it provides assistance for those who – unfortunately – aren’t able to afford the cost of hiring a private sector lawyer.”
- Ian Dupont
In one of his more exciting family law files, he offered real support to a client whose partner was trying to move their child out of the province without warning.
“I worked with the client every step of the way, drafting and arguing an ex parte motion to finally getting the child home safely,” he recalls.
While Ian had an interest in family law coming out of law school, his placement in Chatham’s Criminal & Duty Counsel Office provided him with experience in both family and criminal law. Ian was surprised at how much he enjoyed his criminal rotation – particularly since he did not have a big interest in criminal law to begin with.
The opportunity to routinely handle consent releases in bail court, negotiate with the Crown, draft documents, argue motions and negotiate settlements has convinced Ian that criminal law is something he might like to pursue.
“It can be hectic some days, but it’s a very enjoyable learning experience,” Ian points out. He adds that working out of the courthouse every day has helped to boost his confidence.
Prior to joining LAO, Ian volunteered with the Student Legal Aid Services (SLASS) clinic at his alma mater, Queen’s University – so he was confident LAO was a better fit for him than a corporate firm.
“Everyone is entitled to fair access to justice,” he says. “I wanted to article with LAO because it provides assistance for those who – unfortunately – aren’t able to afford the cost of hiring a private sector lawyer.”
Ian was one of the 50 articling students who participated in LAO’s 2012-2013 articling program. He notes that, while some young lawyers prefer to stay in Toronto, working in a smaller community like Chatham provides many opportunities for young lawyers like him to gain practical legal experience.
Many of the clients he assists are unfamiliar with the legal system, he notes. Ian finds it rewarding to help his clients solve their legal problems. He describes his articling experience as “perfect” because of the experience he has gained.
“It’s nice to work somewhere you can see the impact on the community,” he says.
Ian will be joining LAO’s Lawyer Workforce Strategy as a permanent, full-time staff upon his call to the bar in January.
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For further information on working for LAO, contact LAO’s Human Resources toll-free at email@example.com or by phone at 1-800-668-8258.