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Articling students rotations offer taste of different types of law

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


A profile of Legal Aid Ontarios Angela Stewart

Straight out of law school, and with an undergraduate degree in criminology under her belt, Angela Stewart envisioned a future in criminal law but her articling experience out of the Ottawa Integrated Legal Services Office (ILSO) has exposed her to a number of different practice areas that appeal to her interest in social justice.

Angela Stewart

Ive always had a keen interest in social justice initiatives. I saw myself working with an organization that delivered services to low-income individuals,
- Angela Stewart.

While assisting in landlord and tenant issues, Angela remembers one particular client who was served with an eviction notice. The client, who was also dealing with various personal challenges and health issues, was understandably distraught. She met with Angela several times before her hearing and Angela was able to successfully mediate a resolution.

I was happy I could help her keep her apartment, Angela says. I went away with the feeling that I really made a difference for her.

Interpersonal skills, she has learned, are incredibly important to the job. She developed these skills through direct client contact, but has also learned a lot through working closely with different lawyers at the Ottawa ILSO and observing how they interact with clients and manage their files.

The training Im receiving as an articling student in this office is unique, Angela says, noting how, at the Ottawa ILSO, each day is not only busy, but different.

The new facility, which opened in December 2012, provides low-income Ontarians with a single access point to legal aid services, ranging from family services, assistance with immigration and refugee law matters, help with community legal clinic referrals for both eviction matters and Ontario Disability Support Program claims and appeals.

Ive never had a boring day at work! she says. Were a busy office but I like feeling as though Im making a real contribution.

Angela says the LAO articling experience at the Ottawa ILSO is ideal for any student looking for exposure to several different areas of law. Her rotation with family law, in particular, has opened her eyes to other possibilities.

I really enjoyed learning about family law more than I thought I would! she says. At this point, I could certainly see myself practicing it.

In February, Angela started a rotation with the criminal duty counsel office at the Ottawa courthouse an experience she was looking forward to because of her strong interest in criminal law.

Angela has an undergraduate degree in criminology. A subsequent placement at a small criminal law firm convinced her to pursue law school the first year at Osgoode Hall and the remainder at the University of Ottawa, from which she graduated.

Much to Angelas delight, she was hired as Criminal Duty Counsel at the Ottawa courthouse and begins in May.


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