Justice Education Fellowships
Every year, OJEN invites law students across Ontario to apply for our Justice Education Fellowship positions. These Fellowships are year-long placements in which students receive in-depth training in public legal education theory and methods. Each Fellow then plans and runs a minimum of 3 justice education projects in their local community’s schools, with support from OJEN’s staff team and volunteers from the local legal community. Fellows rapidly build their skills in communications, community outreach, public speaking, access to justice initiatives, and plain language work.
The Justice Education Fellowships help OJEN to expand the reach of our programs into cities across Ontario. They allow us to invest in students who demonstrate an aptitude and interest in public legal education to become more successful legal communicators and professionals. Through working with OJEN’s local committees and collaborating with lawyer volunteers on their projects, our Fellows are able to build connections with like-minded legal professionals while also bridging the gap between local youth and the justice sector.
Fellowship term: 12 months (June-May)
Positions available: 8; one per law school
Honorarium: $1000 per Fellow, payable on delivery of final reports
Qualifications: Candidates must be enrolled in an Ontario LLB or JD program during the period of the Fellowship. Students enrolled in joint degrees will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Successful candidates will typically be in 2L or 3L during the period of their Fellowship.
Each Fellow is responsible for planning and delivering a minimum of 3 of OJEN’s justice education projects in the community where they attend school over the course of their Fellowship. Most projects run in high school law classrooms, though some may run in partnership with community youth groups. Fellows typically recruit lawyer volunteers to attend these projects and provide substantive legal content. Most projects take between 1-3 class periods to complete. Fellows are free to select OJEN projects and partners that match their interests and the needs of the local community.
To prepare for this work, Fellows must attend a 2-day Training Weekend at OJEN’s Head Office in Toronto, in June or July (dates to be co-ordinated with Fellows and OJEN staff). The training covers an orientation to OJEN, working with schools, an in-depth orientation to OJEN’s menu of projects, working with vulnerable youth, and extensive facilitation practice. OJEN will cover reasonable transportation and accommodation costs for students who must travel to attend.
After training, Fellows are expected to maintain communication with OJEN staff about the progress of their work and participate in occasional group check-in calls with the full cohort of Justice Education Fellows from across Ontario. We use this time to share what we’ve been doing, troubleshoot issues that have arisen, and identify new professional development opportunities for the Fellows.
If there is a local committee active in the region, the Fellow will sit on that committee. Most committees meet once every 8-10 weeks. Learn more about local committees at http://ojen.ca/en/committees.
Finally, Fellows must complete a simple reporting process after each of their projects and provide feedback at the end of their Fellowship. This allows OJEN to ensure that Fellows are receiving the support they need and to meet our own reporting requirements.
Apart from scheduled trainings, committee meetings, and check-in calls, Fellows are welcome to set their own schedules. This includes determining when to run projects, although we require Fellows to run at least 1 project in a classroom during the Fall semester (usually November), to avoid becoming overwhelmed in the Spring.
**NOTE ABOUT COVID-19: During the Covid-19 pandemic, all work associated with the Fellowships must be done remotely. This includes running projects “in classroom;” projects will be run over the digital platform that the school uses (typically Google Classroom, though Fellows can also use OJEN’s Zoom account). For the 2021-22 year, all activities will continue to be remote until further notice. This includes the summer training; in lieu of an intensive 2-day training in Toronto, we will schedule a series of training sessions over the summer at times that are convenient for all involved. We do not expect Fellows to conduct any in-person activities until the public health situation changes significantly and to everyone’s comfort.
How to apply
OJEN typically issues a call for Fellowship applications in February, with interviews taking place in March. Placement decisions will be communicated to interviewees by the end of March.
There are no requirements for courses taken, prior degrees, or work experience. We welcome applications from Black and Brown students, Indigenous students, students with marginalized genders and sexualities, students with disabilities, first generation law students, and students with prior justice system involvement.
Successful candidates generally have some, but not all, of the following:
- Experience or demonstrated interest in working with youth;
- Facilitation experience;
- Project management experience;
- Community involvement;
- A connection to the city in which the Fellowship will take place;
- Experience working on other education initiatives;
- Ability to balance school with work or extracurricular activities;
- Strong written and verbal communication skills;
- Demonstrated interest in social justice and public interest law; and/or
- Lived experience as a marginalized person.
The recruitment process for our 2021-22 cohort of Fellows is now closed and all positions have been filled. We thank all applicants for their interest. There are many other ways to get involved with OJEN, so please explore the other opportunities in the Get Involved section of our website.