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Social Justice Externship Report for the Law Foundation of Ontario

Vasey, Adam, "Social Justice Externship Report for the Law Foundation of Ontario," November 2015

Windsor Law Faculty Author: Adam Vasey

ABSTRACT:

This Report outlines the theoretical background for, and key elements of, a social justice externship program that Vasey believes aligns well with the mission and vision of Windsor Law. Part I draws on law and social work scholarship to identify tensions and points of convergence within and between these professions and disciplines. Conceptions of access to justice in law and social justice in social work are explored, with particular attention to the constraints imposed by neoliberalism. Part II delves into the literature on legal externships, which has recently produced important findings and best practices that will serve as a foundation for the proposed Social Justice Externship Program. As the reader will note, externship programs are highly developed across some American law schools, and are beginning to emerge in Canada. Part III highlights the results from two recent studies on the perceived need for and interest in increased social justice experiential education opportunities at Windsor Law. The first is Professor Gemma Smyth’s evaluation of a Poverty and Social Policy Externship Pilot initiative, and the second is Vasey's own research into the perspectives of Windsor Law students, faculty and administration, as well as community organizations, on the prospects of a new social justice externship program. Part IV analyzes the results from the two studies and the relevant literature, and sets out the case for a social justice externship program at Windsor Law. Part V summarizes the Report’s key recommendations, which are drawn from best practices in experiential legal education, and in some cases adapted to fit the Windsor Law context.

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