Articling at CELA

Photo: Linda Pim

CELA offers a unique articling experience, focusing on administrative and environmental law. The articling student deals directly with individuals seeking legal information, giving the student valuable practice in dealing with the public and interviewing potential clients. The articling student also gains background to the political process as part of CELA’s law reform activities. Finally, there is considerable opportunity to gain litigation experience.

Articling Activities
Law Reform. Students are given the opportunity to participate in researching and writing articles, position papers, and submissions under the supervision of CELA staff. There are also opportunities to appear before standing committees, city councils or commissions, and to give presentations at conferences.

Legal Research and Litigation 
Case work activities can include legal research, writing memos and drafting opinion letters, drafting motion records, affidavits and facta; meeting with clients, attending motions court, and assisting lawyers at discoveries and hearings.

Public Outreach
Most legal inquiries from the public are initially directed to the articling student, who is responsible for researching the issue and providing an answer in consultation with one of the lawyers. Students may also write articles or Blog posts for the CELA website.

Working at CELA
The articling student is an important member of the team, which consists of five staff lawyers, two researchers and two support staff. Work is assigned and monitored by the staff lawyers, although there are many times when the student is required to work as part of a larger group. At the same 􀆟me, with only five lawyers, articling at CELA provides an excellent hands-on learning environment. Students receive a high degree of responsibility and, as such, it is important that the student be a self‐starter and be comfortable working independently.

The staff at CELA foster an office atmosphere which is congenial and cooperative. The dress code is relaxed as long as it is appropriate for the occasion. The number of hours worked each week varies depending on the caseload.

Applying to CELA
CELA hires one articling student each year. If you are interested in applying to CELA, apply through the centralized articling law jobs portal at

Terms of Contract
Articling at CELA generally commences at the end of July of each year. The articling student is an employee of Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) and the salary is set each year accordingly. LAO contributes an additional 5.5% of the student’s wages towards an RRSP. There is also a benefits plan, which includes medical, dental, and vision coverage, as well as life insurance. The articling student is entitled to 4 weeks’ vacation for the 12-month term.

Resources at CELA
CELA provides the articling student with an office and computer, which is part of a networked system. The articling student, as well as the public, has access to the CELA Resource Library that contains a range of texts on environmental and administrative law and civil procedure, a limited selection of law reports, as well as news clippings, periodicals, and government publications on most environmental topics. Furthermore, CELA has access to Quicklaw, while The Great Library at Osgoode Hall and the Bora Laskin Library at the University of Toronto are both a couple of subway stops away.