Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: From High School To Law School – Creating A Social Justice Ethos

Lead Presenter: Cheryl Milne


  1. Sarah Pole

Session Abstract: By providing educational social justice opportunities to students, we attempt to inculcate a sense of responsibility toward the community and awareness of the need to increase access to justice, while exposing them to exciting public interest work and ideas. But public interest work is often difficult, poorly paid and hard to obtain with few full-time opportunities. How does one manage students’ expectations while at the same time encouraging initiative, creativity, empathy and the confidence to seek out opportunities to work in the public interest. This presentation will challenge participants to consider barriers to social justice careers and provide examples of how to overcome such barriers, from a social justice curriculum for marginalised high school students, to a model engaging law students in reflective practice in a clinical social justice setting. By enabling students at both levels to see their roles as positive change makers and to open their eyes to the use of law in creative ways to further the rights of others, these programs build a lifelong social justice ethos transferable to multiple settings and career paths. Launched in 2005, LAWS is a collaborative academic and extracurricular justice education partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, and the Toronto District School Board (the fourth largest school board in North America). LAWS supports motivates marginalized high school students who face challenges in engaging successfully with school and accessing post-secondary education. The David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law is devoted to advocacy, research and education in the area of constitutional rights in Canada. The Centre houses a unique legal clinic that brings together students, faculty, members of the bar and other advocates to work on significant constitutional cases and advocacy projects with a focus on access to justice.

Session Material:

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See full list of abstracts here.