Beyond the classroom
Students learn as much outside a traditional classroom setting as within. The Integrated Program expands the range of opportunities for students to contribute to the wider community while receiving course credit for their work.
McGill offers myriad opportunities for students of every interest and personality to develop practical skills by putting their newly acquired education to work outside the classroom.
Every year, McGill students participate in a number of national and international competitions called moots. Each moot concentrates on a specific area of law, and teams are given a legal problem requiring focused analysis and research. Mooters are evaluated on their ability to plead their case and respond to intense questioning from the bench, while the team factum is assessed for precise use of law and clarity of drafting.
The Faculty’s participants distinguish themselves every year in the provincial, national and international rounds of these competitions, and we have the trophy cases to prove it! McGill regularly sends teams to the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot, the Tribunal-École Pierre-Basile Migneault, Concours Charles Rousseau, the Laskin Moot Court competition, the Gale Cup Moot, the Kawaskimhon (Aboriginal) Moot, the Wilson Moot, the Sopinka Cup, the Corporate & Securities Competition, and more.
McGill offers a unique for-credit program of student clerkships, allowing selected senior students to work with judges from Quebec’s Court of Appeal, Superior Court, and administrative tribunals for credit during the year. Students gain invaluable research and writing experience and an insider’s understanding of the court system, while effectively being mentored by an experienced judge. Sudent clerkships are prestigious positions involving a minimum of 100 hours work per term; students must take an oath of a confidentiality to maintain the integrity of the court.
Student clerkships are not to be confused with the ones graduating students can apply for with provincial Courts of Appeal and federal courts. These work experiences are not pursued for credit, but as part of one’s period of articling after graduation. McGill places four or five graduates in clerkships at the Supreme Court of Canada every year (an extraordinary number, as the Court hires but 27 clerks from all 21 Canadian law faculties) and an equal number at the Federal Court of Canada and provincial courts each year. For 2014, six candidates have been selected from McGill by the Supreme Court of Canada. We are justifiably proud of our graduates.
Teaching assistants and group leaders
The Legal Methodology program is a mandatory component of first- and second-year life at the Faculty, where the nuts and bolts of exploiting legal research tools and developing legal writing styles are pursued. Senior students can apply to lead small groups (20-25 students) at either level, and are partnered with professors, developing assignments in a specific field of law throughout the year. Being a Teaching Assistant is an invaluable means of helping newer students become the best researchers they can be, while developing teaching skills and the ability to lead, and working in partnership with Faculty members. The focus on a specific area of law also allows the senior student to deepen their understanding in this area.
Group Assistants do much the same work as Teaching Assistants but in specific courses, usually Constitutional Law, Foundations of Law,Taxation, and Criminal Law. GAs lead tutorial sessions, answer questions, and explain concepts previously introduced in the classroom to small groups of students (usually 8-10).
The Faculty has many exchange agreements with leading law faculties around the world, such as the North American Consortium on Legal Education. McGill students receive credit equivalence to study at these other institutions for a term or a year, and pay McGill fees.
Law Student Affairs Office: exchange programs
Legal Information Clinic at McGill
The Legal Information Clinic at McGill began in 1973 as a modest attempt by a handful of students to get some practical experience while being helpful to the general community; it has grown into a cornerstone service, with nearly half of the Faculty’s students volunteering their time to help about 4000 clients each year, and it remains the only wholly student-run legal clinic in North America. The Clinic offers a walk-in service, a telephone information hotline, and a Student Advocacy service where law students represent other McGill students in disciplinary and grievance cases with the university. The Clinic also offers information sessions for community-based organizations.
McGill Law Journal
This prestigious student-run law journal’s articles are consistently cited in Supreme Court of Canada decisions, and the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation developed by Journal editors is the standard reference guide at a number of courts, law schools, and law journals in Canada.
Selection to the Journal is competitive - candidates are usually invited to apply after their first year of law school, with interviews taking place in early fall of second year. Students who are selected by the editorial board are required to make a two-year commitment, spending their first year as members of the junior board doing fact and footnote checking on manuscripts; in their second year, student can remain on the editorial board as senior members or run for executive management positions. All members of the Journal work with authors to develop their academic writing, and gain a broad, thorough knowledge of research and citation standards while being exposed to cutting-edge legal theory.
McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy
The issue of development, with its impact on environmental degradation and human rights, is of growing concern; yet there are few outlets for informed and focused commentary on these issues, particularly in Canada. In response to this void, students at the Faculty of Law of McGill University established the McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy in 2005. This student-run, peer-reviewed academic journal aims to provide a forum for critical analysis and cutting-edge commentary on the intersection between law, development, the environment, domestic and international economies, and society.
McGill Health Law Publication
The McGill Journal of Law and Health (MJLH) is a student-run, on-line endeavour. It is an interdisciplinary project consisting of a peer-reviewed anthology featuring scholarly contributions by renowned academics and practitioners alongside an organic on-line database—a resource of recent developments in the field of health law. Both components aim to inform the vital public debate surrounding health, public policy and ethics and to critically explore the nexus of health and law in a transsystemic framework. The MJLH is an open-access journal that is available on our website free of charge.
Human Rights Internships
In 1994, the Faculty of Law created a series of human rights partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the developing world. A limited number of students are selected each year to earn credit interning for an NGO applying their legal education in a concrete setting and further developing a demonstrated interest and commitment to the defence of fundamental human rights.
Students may also apply to the Faculty for partial funding to facilitate internship experiences they have organized on their own.
Each student is required to file a comprehensive activities report with the Faculty coordinator upon their return and complete a previously approved research paper under Faculty supervision to receive credit for their internship experience.
Human Rights Internships