Young Lawyers Internship Program – funding news still pending

  • February 08, 2014

The group of young lawyers from the 2012-2013 CBA Young Lawyers Internship Program completed their six-month placements in March 2013. Many of the interns participated in a debriefing session in Ottawa soon after their return to Canada. As mentioned in our last newsletter, no funding was available to support the program in 2013-2014, but we are hopeful that it will be available again soon.

In an interview in early October 2013, the recently appointed International Development Minister, Christian Paradis, confirmed that he is reviewing whether the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD, formerly CIDA) will continue funding for the Internship Program.

As the feedback has shown over the years, these placements with law societies and human rights organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America have a tremendous impact on the young Canadian lawyers who have participated in the program. The interns gain hands-on experience in an international context and augment their legal skills in a short time frame – an achievement that would be difficult to duplicate in Canada. The experience has an effect that lasts long after the interns return from their placements. Check out the January/February issue of National magazine for an article by Sandra Wisner about her recent experience in South Africa.

The DFATD funded internship program bridges two hugely important functions: allowing young Canadian professionals to gain international work experience; and providing much-needed resources to partners in developing countries. The CBA remains hopeful that funding will resume soon and finds it promising that the program has the Minister’s attention.