"You get to feel like a real lawyer. It's nice to make your own arguments instead of just reading other people's arguments all the time."
Heather Cave, '18 JD
Experiential learning equips graduates with the practical skills needed to thrive in the legal profession.The University of Alberta Faculty of Law provides students with extensive hands- on experiences to support their academic and professional development, both within their coursework and via placements within the community.
Experiential offerings include competitive mock trials and appeals (moots) that hone students’ skills as they earn course credits and network with legal professionals who advise and evaluate them. Students may also volunteer to provide free legal information to low-income clients through Student Legal Services, or support active projects of the Alberta Law Reform Institute, which is housed on campus.
Internship opportunities in workplaces include assisting with legal proceedings and research projects for the Alberta Utilities Commission and the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Another allows supervised students to work for the Canadian Armed Forces’ Office of the Judge Advocate General on criminal procedure and writing legal opinions.
Externships place students in professional settings for extended periods, allowing them to focus on specific domains of legal practice. In the Aboriginal Justice Externship on Gladue Sentencing Principles, students help prepare vital background information on clients for judges who are directed by the 1999 Gladue decision to take into account the unique circumstances of Indigenous offenders when sentencing them.
Many classroom courses contain significant experiential components. In Corporate Reorganization and Restructuring, real-life simulations include a multi-chambers application before an actual judge at the courthouse, and a multi-party negotiation culminating in a meeting with creditors. In Constitutional History of Canada, students can take the role of groups excluded from the Patriation Conference of 1981 to negotiate content of the Charter of Rights.