Law students win public-interest internships

Six law students who are working in public interest and social justice jobs this summer will be funded by the Ian Scott Public Interest Internship Program.

The program provides funding for 10 weeks to Osgoode Hall Law School students who take unpaid or underpaid public interest and social justice positions locally and abroad. Osgoode launched the program last year with generous donations from law firms of Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP and Gowlings. It is named in honour of one of Ontario’s most influential attorneys general.

Students selected for the funding are high achievers with a desire to make a difference in Canada and around the world. Last year the program assisted five Osgoode students whose interest in social justice matters took them to jobs in Guatemala, Switzerland, Turkey, Brazil and Canada.

This year the program is assisting seven students:

  • Joanna Babula will spend the summer working at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in the policy, education and health promotion department. She will be supporting the cnetre’s legal counsel on such issues as privacy, local health integration networks, physician issues, and governance and accountability systems.
  • Graham Erion will return this summer to South Africa where he will work for the Legal Resource Centre in Cape Town on the Richtersveld land reform case. This precedent-setting case was the first in South Africa to establish aboriginal title to land possessed during apartheid. Graham’s involvement in the case will focus on identifying ways to get community compensation for environmental damage to the land.
  • Kent Elson will continue his involvement with the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW) in its clean water workshop. His work will focus on transboundary pollution prevention, creating an environmental law primer and writing environmental bill of rights applications.
  • Jennifer Fehr will continue her work on refugee law and women’s and children’s issues with the neighbourhood legal services program in the Regent Park and St. James communities of Toronto. She will focus on alleviating delays for refugee claimants in bringing their children to Canada.
  • Catherine Nowak will spend the summer helping Kenya’s government establish a national judicial institute for East Africa. The institute will develop anti-corruption standards; maintain reporting statistics; enhance professional ethics; establish a professional complaints mechanism for the judiciary; provide continuing education courses for judges; and facilitate legal knowledge exchange between Canada and East Africa.
  • Ashley Weber will focus on immigration and refugee issues in the migration and refugee department at the Instituto Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador. She will be working on individual cases and participating in lobbying efforts to get the government of El Salvador to improve the efficiency and transparency of its procedures for refugee claimants.

Right:  Former Ontario attorney general Ian Scott (seated) appears with Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan and members of the law firm of Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP at the launch last November of the Ian Scott Public Internship Program. Standing (from left) are Monahan, Ian Roland, Linda Rothstein, Kenneth Rosenberg and Chris Paliare.