Articling experience allows student to experience “social justice in action”
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A profile of Legal Aid Ontario’s Kyle Noonan
Kyle Noonan was thrilled when he learned he was accepted into Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) articling program because the position aligned perfectly with his desire to help others.
“You’re helping people in difficult circumstances who wouldn’t otherwise get the help they need. You also get a lot of exposure to a wide range of cases and gain experience in court.”
– Kyle Noonan, articling student
“It’s a tough job climate for articling students generally,” he says, “so I was especially happy to get a position that fit so well with my personal values and character.”
Since the 2009 launch of the Lawyer Workforce Strategy, LAO’s career development program, law students have had a wide range of learning opportunities with rotations in family law, criminal law and refugee law. Articling students also have the opportunity to assist both advice counsels and duty counsels.
“I see law as offering a good balance between intellectual and academic challenges, while working closely with people on real and immediate problems,” he reflects.
LAO’s articling program offered him ample opportunities to do just that and as a few of Kyle’s fellow articling students have already noted, the articling program with LAO is different from what their friends and classmates have experienced in the corporate world, where there is less of an opportunity to see the inside of a courtroom
“Because I’m based in the Owen Sound and Walkerton courthouses, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and get to know many different people,” he says.
From interacting with lawyers to police officers to court clerks to mental health workers to court reporters to mediators, Kyle has learned a lot by virtue of being around experienced professionals who are more than willing to give advice and share their experiences.
“Even a few judges and justices of the peace have taken the time to speak with me,” he adds.
Kyle notes that another key difference from the typical corporate articling experience is the clients that LAO serves: low-income Ontarians with a range of legal service needs that overlap various areas of law
“It can be difficult to see the effects of violence and poverty on so many people,” he acknowledges. “But it’s also rewarding when we’re able to assist those who are most in need.”
Kyle recalls all of the work he put into a consent release for a client in custody. He interviewed and prepared the sureties, negotiated with the Crown and represented his client in bail court.
The client was released – only to be picked up on another warrant.
“It was disappointing – but the client and his family appreciated my work,” Kyle says.
He recommends the experience to other articling students because of the many training opportunities. He believes it’s an excellent opportunity to get to know the courtroom from the inside out.
“It’s social justice in action,” he says. “You’re helping people in difficult circumstances who wouldn’t otherwise get the help they need. You also get a lot of exposure to a wide range of cases and gain experience in court.”
Kyle’s articling period ends in May and he hopes to continue on with LAO after his call to the bar in June.
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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.