Osgoode students head overseas to offer legal assistance

They’re off! After a mandatory, eight-day preparatory course, 24 Osgoode Hall Law School students – all research fellows with the International Legal Partnership (ILP), an Osgoode-based, non-profit student international legal assistance initiative – are heading to nine countries this summer to gain international work experience.

Above: Students from Osgoode Hall Law School’s International Legal Partnership. Pictured above: Front row, from left, Heather Clark, Jamie Goodman, Laura Siperman, Sondra Rebenchuk, Marlene Costa, Shivani Anand and Rathika Vasavithasan. Middle row, from left, Alyssa Brierley, Adrian Reyes, Ashley Audet, Daniel Camenzuli, Brooke Camlis, Porsha Gauthier, Arlene Mack, Jen Quito, Jina Lee and Emma Duggan. Back row, from left, Carole Piovesan, Kathrin Furniss, Tim Hudek, Charlie Sherman, Nigel D’Souza, Marc Rodrigue and Adolfo Tena Ramirez.

The ILP fellows, who will be in Argentina, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, the Philippines, Serbia, Uganda and Zambia, will provide advice on global policy and legal regulation as well as research assistance to governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research clinics in those countries. The ILP, which has been organizing international summer work opportunities for Osgoode students since 2006, is overseen by a council of advisers comprised of leading Canadian and international law experts. In addition to working, many of the ILP fellows will be contributing to a blog about their experiences.

“ILP fellows will work on issues as diverse as child exploitation in the Philippines, to intellectual property law in India, to constitutional law in Kosovo,” said Carole Piovesan, student director of the ILP. “Our partners range from a legal aid clinic in Kenya to the United Nations Development Program in Indonesia and Serbia.”

This year, for the first time ever, the ILP and Osgoode Hall Law School are proudly piloting a formal course for the research fellows. Led by Osgoode Adjunct Professor Faisal Bhabha, a human rights and constitutional law expert, and also involving a number of other Osgoode and York instructors, students will participate in seminar classes before and after their placement work.

"This program combines a survey of critical international and comparative legal studies with practical work experience in the Global South,” said Piovesan, adding that the ILP fellows are “especially thrilled” that Bhabha is the course instructor. Bhabha has advised or represented numerous public interest organizations and NGOs in matters related to constitutional law and human rights. He has also served as a member of the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada and as a volunteer with an international development organization.

The ILP Global Legal Education Course covers a broad range of topics such as intercultural communication, legal analysis from race & gender perspectives, working in developing countries and group dynamics & business etiquette.

The creation of the course will allow students to earn academic credit for their work and ensure that their fellowship experience is reflected on their transcript, reinforcing the global nature of their law school experience.