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Student Programs

Disability Law Intensive

Providing Accessible Legal Services
How the Disability Law Intensive Program Prepared Me for Legal Practice – Conversations with Former Students

Learn about how a placement at ARCH through the DLI program has helped students develop legal skills and prepared them for their legal practice in various fields of law.

The video recording of this presentation, with ASL and Captioning, is available here to view or download (550 MB):

For more details about the Disability Law Intensive program and how to apply, go here: Disability Law Intensive 

Testimonials from Former DLI Students

Former DLI students discuss their experience during their placement at ARCH

logos for ARCH and for Osgoode Hall Law School

ARCH continues its innovative partnership with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University to offer the Disability Law Intensive program. The purpose of this program is to introduce second and third year law students to the complex issues faced by persons with disabilities and to help them learn the most effective ways of delivering legal services to our communities, through law reform and policy work, and direct client centered work. This program is the first of its kind in Canada. Now in its sixth year, twelve students were selected to participate in the 2018-19 Disability Law Intensive at ARCH.

Disability Law Intensive Program
Placement at ARCH Disability Law Centre

Since 2013, ARCH Disability Law Centre (“ARCH”) has been providing practical legal experience to Osgoode Hall law students through the Disability Law Intensive (“DLI”). The DLI program offers second and third year law students a unique opportunity to develop their legal skills while learning about disability rights issues as they intersect with many areas of law, including human rights law, through both a policy and law reform rotation and a test case litigation and direct client services rotation.

About ARCH Disability Law Centre

ARCH is a specialty legal clinic that practices exclusively in disability rights law. ARCH is dedicated to defending and advancing the equality rights, fundamental freedoms and inclusion of persons with disabilities. In order to carry out its mandate, ARCH provides a range of legal services. ARCH provides legal advice to persons with disabilities in Ontario through its Summary Advice and Referral (“SAR”) program, and represents clients and disability organizations in precedent setting cases before various tribunals and courts. ARCH also has an extensive law reform practice, working on a variety of initiatives related to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. ARCH also delivers public legal education to disability communities across Ontario (including in person or via live webcast), and conducts community development projects to support its law reform work.

Learn more at

DLI Placement at ARCH

Students will develop legal skills by participating in ARCH’s day to day legal work. Students will participate in two distinct rotations during the academic year as noted above. Students will be placed in either rotation for the first semester, and switch to the other rotation during the second semester. Students will spend two full days a week at ARCH.

Due to the nature of ongoing litigation and law reform projects, it is difficult to predict the precise work students will be involved in. The type of work students will do is also dependent on the current stage of the files assigned to them. Some examples of work that students may be involved in are provided below.

Client Services Rotation

  1. Intake and SAR program (primarily conducted over the telephone)
    1. Conduct initial interview of clients and gather relevant information
    2. Conduct research for follow-up with client
    3. Develop client interview, research and docketing skills
  2. Litigation
    1. Legal research on complex legal questions and matters
    2. Participate in drafting of submissions, letters to opposing parties, and legal opinion letters
    3. Participate in case strategy meetings with staff lawyers, meetings with clients or opposing parties, mediation or hearings

Law Reform and Policy Rotation

  1. Law Reform Project
    1. Conduct legal research and draft memos on complex legal issues
    2. Participate in drafting of submissions and materials
    3. Attend meetings with community partners, coalitions, and government or public officials
    4. Participate in strategy meetings with staff lawyers
    5. Participate in consultations with ARCH’s communities
  2. Public Legal Education Workshops
    1. Develop and deliver at least one public legal education workshos

* ARCH provides appropriate disability-related accommodations to the point of undue hardship to DLI students with disabilities, as per ARCH’s Accommodation Policy.

DLI Program Placement at ARCH – One-pager Overview

Internships & Placements

Internships and Placements for Social Work Students and Law Students

ARCH provides placements to students from various universities in law and social work programs. For a placement at ARCH, please contact Students are always welcome at ARCH; however placements depend on academic requirements and resources availability.

University of Ottawa Student Proposed Internship Program

In particular, ARCH continues to provide placements to students from the University of Ottawa through the Student Proposed Internship program. This program offers students the opportunity to pursue a self-proposed internship at ARCH that allow them to learn in a more practical setting about disability law, while gaining professional experience.

The Student Proposed Internship at ARCH can be completed during any semester (Conditions and Eligibility apply). Students can complete a number of law related tasks such as, but not limited to:

  • legal research: law reform and litigation;
  • legal writing (drafting letters, drafting affidavits, writing short articles, memoranda and research papers, compiling information to create a guidebook, gathering of information on specific topics for lawyers, etc.);
  • observe court litigation and proceedings, mediations and negotiations;
  • assist lawyers in preparing a client for a hearing;
  • assist in client intake, interviewing and/or meeting with clients; and
  • attend workshops and training offered by ARCH.

* Students may not give legal advice or legal opinions as they are not yet called to the bar.

Last Modified: July 17, 2024