Public Interest Law Centre Internship

Course Description:

This course will serve as a bridge between the academic study of law and the practice of law or the application of legal principles to policy issues. Connecting academic study with community service through structured reflection contributes to learning that is deeper, longer lasting and more generalizable to new situations and contexts. Working with the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) involves cooperative experiences, and addresses complex problems in complex settings. Students are required to engage in problem solving by drawing on the substantive knowledge they have acquired over the course of their law studies. Students will also come to appreciate that involvement with the broader community is less about “helping other in need” than it is about collaborating with others whose resources, skill sets and perspectives are complementary, to better understand and resolve challenges facing our communities.

This internship will require between 90 and 100 hours in the internship placement, under the supervision of a PILC lawyer. This amounts to approximately one day/week during the fall term. The exact hours of the placement vary. Students must apply for this internship and will be screened on the basis of strong academic performance, their related course work, career plans, related experience. The mandate of the Public Interest Law Centre is to represent groups and organizations on public interest and low income issues of law. The Centre also takes individual test cases when issues of public importance are presented which may affect a broad class of persons. In order to maximize the service provided, the Centre carries a carefully selected portfolio of cases and projects. The current case load placed an emphasis on equality rights, aboriginal issues as well as social welfare and consumer matters. The Director of the Public Interest Law Centre also supervises poverty law services at Legal Aid Manitoba. Byron Williams (and other lawyers as required) will be the intern supervisor at PILC.

Three significant roles are contemplated for the interns: (1) a significant legal research project(s) will be assigned relating either to a current or potential case of the Centre; (2) under the supervision of the Centre’s lawyers, students would be asked to complete individual interviews, assessments and referrals of persons seeking to employ the Centre’s services; (3) working under the direction of the Centre’s lawyers and in association with a community advocate, students would be responsible for the conduct of 1 or 2 files before administrative tribunals such as the Residential Tenancies Branch, the Residential Tenancies Commission and the Social Services Appeal Board.

INSTRUCTOR:  Dr.  Lorna Turnbull

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