New student legal clinic launched at Toronto Metropolitan University with support from Legal Aid Ontario
Published: October 11, 2023
TORONTO, October 11, 2023 – A new student legal clinic at Toronto Metropolitan University will increase access to legal services for low-income clients, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) announced today.
Students at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) will be able to work on legal cases under the close supervision of the clinic’s staff lawyers to provide free legal services to community members. The new clinic, which is located adjacent to TMU’s downtown campus, is made possible thanks to funding from LAO, the Law Foundation of Ontario, and TMU.
The clinic will begin by providing legal services in the areas of housing and social assistance and will offer law students the opportunity to work with experienced clinic lawyers. The program will integrate an academic seminar with hands-on case work, where students will develop a reflective community lawyering practice and a critical and contextual perspective on the issues faced by legal clinic clients.
LAO currently funds seven student legal services organizations located at each law school in Ontario. This investment increases that number to eight and builds on LAO’s commitment to support student legal service organizations, while also ensuring that students at each law school in Ontario have the opportunity to work in a student legal clinic.
The new clinic began providing services in September 2023. For the first year, it will receive case files through referrals from other legal clinics. The clinic hopes to commence intake for additional cases from the public in late 2024.
“We’re so pleased to be able to serve more clients while giving law students the opportunity to put their learning into practice through meaningful, client-facing work,” says Rod Strain, Vice President, Clinic Law Services at LAO. “We know that many people lack the financial means to retain a lawyer, so the law students supporting this new clinic will provide a highly valuable service, particularly to marginalized groups, while promoting access to justice.”
“With the launch of this student legal clinic, our intention is to develop a holistic, reflective, and highly collaborative legal practice that responds to the needs and lived experiences of the clinic’s clients, staff and students; harnesses the power of community; and reimagines how we use and interact with legal issues and systems,” says Khalid Janmohamed, Director, Legal Clinic Programs at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law. “We appreciate the support of our partners like Legal Aid Ontario, which has given us the flexibility to innovate from inception and design a clinical legal education model that is deeply rooted in the needs and realities of the communities we will serve.”
About Legal Aid Ontario
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides legal help eligible low-income Ontarians, including high-quality legal services in family law, refugee and immigration law, criminal law, and mental health law. LAO also provides funding to 72 independent legal clinics and eight student legal services organizations throughout the province.