Appellate advocacy is the process of arguing a case before an appellate court, in which the facts are not in dispute and the focus is on the law. The Faculty's extensive appellate advocacy program provides students with valuable experience in legal analysis, the drafting of appellate documents and the preparation and presentation of oral argument.
All first year students are introduced to appellate advocacy through a compulsory exercise as part of the Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy course. To build on this experience, the Faculty runs an internal appellate advocacy competition called the Lerners LLP Cup. This voluntary competition gives upper year students the opportunity to argue a hypothetical case before an appellate court. Judges, practicing lawyers and third-year students generously volunteer their time to act as judges for the competition. The top students advance to the final rounds to compete for the Lerners LLP Cup.
The Faculty also enters teams in several external appellate advocacy competitions across the country. These include the Laskin, Wilson, and Niagra (sponsored by Lerners LLP), and the Gale and Canadian Corporate/Securities Law competitions. Members of these teams enrol in Law 5715 as their January term course. In addition, the Faculty enters a team in the Jessup (sponsored by McCarthy Tetrault) (Law 5713), Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP Canadian Labour Arbitration Competition (Law 5720), the Harold Fox Intellectual Property Moot (Law 5717) and the Kawaskimhon Talking Circle (Law 5712). Students are selected for these January term advocacy courses based on their performance in the Lerners LLP Cup Competition and/or by application to the faculty supervisor.
The Faculty's trial advocacy competition is known as the Cherniak Cup, named in honour of Earl A. Cherniak, QC, and sponsored by Lerners LLP. This voluntary competition is open to all students and gives them the opportunity to conduct a trial based on a hypothetical fact situation. Students make opening and closing statements and examine witnesses. Judges and practicing lawyers generously volunteer their time to act as judges for the competition. The top students advance to the final rounds to compete for the Cherniak Cup and the opportunity to represent the Faculty in external trial advocacy competitions, such as the Arnup Cup. Members of the Arnup Cup team enrol in Law 5725 as their January term course.
Client Counselling Program
This voluntary program is open to students in all years. The purpose of the competition is to develop students' skills in interviewing and counselling clients. The competition is held within the Faculty of Law and is sponsored by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, with citizens of London acting as clients and members of the bar acting as judges. The winners of the intramural competition compete in the regional final, which includes students from law schools in the north-eastern United States and central Canada. This is followed by the national final competition held in the United States. The Competitions are sponsored by the American Bar Association.
This voluntary program is open to students in all years. The purpose of the negotiation competition is to develop students' negotiation skills that will be useful throughout their legal careers. The competition is held within the Faculty of Law and is sponsored by Torys LLP. Teams are provided with a negotiation problem and a detailed outline of their fictitious clients' interests, which they are able to study for a limited period prior to Preliminary Rounds. At the Preliminary Rounds, students negotiate with opposing teams while being observed by lawyers from Torys LLP, who assess the students' negotiation strategies. The goal of these negotiations is to advance client interests while achieving outcomes that are acceptable to opposing counsel. Top teams advance to a final "in-school" round, and then onto a regional competition governed by the American Bar Association.
Community Legal Services
Director: Doug Ferguson
Western Business Law Clinic
Since its inception in 1969, Community Legal Services (CLS) has provided legal services to the London community. Students handle cases involving summary conviction offences and civil matters. The students are advised and assisted by senior students and three full-time review lawyers. Upper year students may participate as caseworkers and first year students assist them as associate caseworkers. Participation in CLS is voluntary and can also be for academic credit. CLS now has several clinical courses which allow students to gain experience while obtaining academic credit. These courses are advocacy-oriented and familiarize students with most aspects of litigation.
Director:Professor Richard McLaren
The Western Business Law Clinic provides participating students with the opportunity to directly assist clients and develop the skills of client interviewing, fact analysis, development of case theory and strategy, client counselling, document drafting and letter writing, negotiation, legal research and various models of persuasion. Students are educated, trained, and inspired to be advocates of entrepreneurs. They assist small or start-up businesses with high quality transaction matters including: Business Structure, Finance, Intellectual Property Protection, Product Liability, Employment Law, Government Regulations, Contracts, Taxation, Guarantees and Personal Liability and Environmental Issues.
Pro Bono Students Canada
Pro Bono Students Canada is a national program that matches law student volunteers with community agencies with a need for legal services but with insufficient resources to compensate legal counsel. Agencies typically involved in Pro Bono Students Canada include public interest and non-profit organizations, tribunals, legal clinics and lawyers working pro bono on a particular case. Law student volunteers complete legal research or other law-related projects for member organizations over the course of the academic year under the supervision of a lawyer mentor.