Participants

About the Public Interest Articling Fellowship

The Law Foundation of Ontario created the Public Interest Articling Fellowships Program (PIAF) to respond to:

  • The public interest community’s growing need for assistance
  • A desire among law students to gain experience in public interest law

The Foundation makes a substantial contribution to public interest law in Ontario through this program as many organizations simply do not have enough funding to host articling students.

 

2016-2017 PIAF Fellows

Meet our most current Public Interest Articling Fellowship participants

 

Guilhem de RoquefeuilGuilhelm de Roquefeuil, PIAF Fellow 2016-2017
Law School: McGill University
PIAF Placement: Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ)

Guilhem de Roquefeuil recently graduated from the McGill Faculty of Law with a B.C.L./LL.B. degree (highest hons). He previously completed a Joint Honours B.A. in Political Science and International Development Studies at McGill. Guilhem has lived on four continents after leaving his home country, France, at a young age. During his legal studies, Guilhem developed a marked interest for international legal issues and Canadian immigration law. Notably, he co-drafted an Amicus Report for the Inter American Court of Human Rights, interned at the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, coordinated McGill’s International Human Rights Internships Program, co-founded Inter Gentes – The McGill Journal of International Law and Legal Pluralism, and worked part-time for an immigration and refugee law firm. As research assistant to professor Frederic Mégret and Nandini Ramanujam, his research interests have focused on transnational legal theory, international criminal and human rights law, as well as Canadian administrative law. For Guilhem, articling at the CCIJ represents a unique opportunity to tackle these issues through complex and impactful public interest litigation.

David Kay Levy David Kay Levy, PIAF Fellow 2016-2017
Law School: Queen’s University
PIAF Placement: Innocence Canada

My name is David Levy and I am articling at Innocence Canada having just graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law. In my second year of law school, I volunteered at the Queen’s Law Prison Clinic representing inmates at Joyceville Institution in disciplinary Court and assisting them with grievance submissions. In my second year summer, I volunteered at Innocence Canada (Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, as it was then called) writing intake memos for innocence applications. Through AIDWYC, I caught a glimpse at real, potential wrongful convictions and their causes, while the Prison Clinic opened my eyes to the grim reality of those who have been wrongly (or rightly) convicted.

Working in the public interest has always been important to me. Having had the privilege of an education that allows for access to and understanding of the law, I feel a duty to try and help those with real legal problems who are not as lucky. I am honoured to be a part of Innocence Canada and hope to contribute to their mandate of overturning past and preventing future wrongful convictions.

Joseph Makari, PIAF Fellow 2016-2017Joseph Makari
Law School: University of Ottawa
PIAF Placement: Peacebuilders International

While I wasn’t sure what it was, I first developed a passion for social justice during elementary school when I observed a racialized peer being bullied because of his ethnicity. Feeling overwhelmingly saddened and angry, and with adrenaline rushing through my veins, I rushed to his defence. As a 10-year-old, I couldn’t appreciate the gravity of that event, but as I grew older I began to observe similar events at a much larger scale. Determined to defend the vulnerable, I volunteered in a number of different community positions including: serving as a Big Brother at the Children’s Aid Society; a basketball youth leader; and a leader at a youth sports camp in an underprivileged area. Gathering inspiration and encouragement from my parents and high school basketball coach, I purposely selected a career that would allow me to continue to positively contribute to society while fighting oppression. After completing an undergraduate Degree in Criminology at York University, I discovered that a legal education would be a very powerful tool in accomplishing my purpose. I thus pursued law at the University of Ottawa because of its proximity to Parliament; its involvement with politics and public policy; and its reputation for being a social justice-centred school. Three years later, with thanks to everyone who supported me along the way and the generous funding of The Law Foundation of Ontario, I am working my dream job at Peacebuilders International; using the law to help youth succeed. Moving forward, I am committed to serve as a voice for the oppressed for the rest of my legal career and life.

Petra Molnar, PIAF Fellow 2016-2017Petra Molnar
Law School: University of Toronto
PIAF Placement: Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic

I graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2016. I also hold a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology with a diploma in Refugee Studies from York University. I am a former refugee settlement worker with over eight years of experience in forced migration and refugee issues in Canada and internationally. I have worked as a researcher on a number of projects, most recently as the Health and Human Rights Fellow at the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto, researching the impact of Canada’s policies on Syrian refugees living with HIV in Turkey and Jordan.

Going to law school has allowed me to merge my passion for critical research with social justice work. I came in with a clear vision to work with migrants, refugees, and other marginalized communities and the Public Interest Articling Fellowship is a great source of support which allows me to continue on with this work.

Benjamin Segal-Brown, PIAF Fellow 2016-2017Benjamin Segal-Brown
Law School: Queen’s University
PIAF Placement: Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)

Ben Segel-Brown is articling at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa. He studied law at Queen’s University in Kingston. Prior to his articles, Ben worked for the Parliamentary Budget Office where he helped negotiate access to information, plan legislative reforms, and write reports. He also acted as a legal aid caseworker assisting low-income Kingston residents with landlord-tenant, victim compensation, creditor-debtor, and quasi-criminal files. Some of his prouder accomplishments include founding an oral advocacy “Minute Moot” club at Queen’s, getting the Minister of Defense grilled by the media over his refusal to disclose the costs of Canada’s mission in Iraq to the Parliamentary Budget Office, and helping a victim of sexual assault apply for victim’s compensation. He loves working in consumer advocacy because it allows him to approach every file with an eye towards shaping the law to suit the public interest.

Cee Strauss, PIAF Fellow 2016-2017Cee Strauss
Law School: McGill University
PIAF Placement: Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)

I graduated in June 2016 with a combined Bachelor of Civil Law/Bachelor of Laws degree from McGill University. Social justice community work has always been a significant part of my life, from writing newsletters and information guides, to marching in the streets, to making food to keep everyone going. It was through my work at the Prisoner Correspondence Project, an LGBTQ+ prison penpal organization, that I decided to go to law school. I found myself trying to answer countless letters from people in prison asking for greater insight into their rights. I realized that in order to provide that kind of information, and ultimately become an advocate for the respect of human rights and for more equitable systems of accountability–in prisons, in schools, in the workplace, in one’s own home, on the street–I myself needed to gain a better understanding of Canada’s legislated rights and freedoms and how they are upheld and undermined in our society. Law school has been an invaluable site of learning for me. The inside members (those in prison) of the Prisoner Correspondence Project, advocating for themselves on the (il)legalities of their incarceration and creating a network of allies through writing letters, continue to inspire me.

Raphael Vagliano, PIAF Fellow 2016-2017Raphael Vagliano
Law School: McGill University
PIAF Placement: Amnesty International

Raphael is the Public Interest Articling Fellow at Amnesty International Canada (English Speaking), where he supports strategic litigation to advance respect for international human rights law in Canada. He holds dual common and civil law degrees from McGill University, in addition to a BA in Political Science from Columbia University. Prior to beginning law studies, he lived in Syria, where he worked as a journalist and teacher, in addition to performing refugee status determination tasks at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He also completed a year-long advanced Arabic language fellowship in Egypt.

In law school, Raphael pursued his longstanding interest in public interest work through volunteering and multiple clinical placements in the fields of immigration and refugee law and international human rights law. He also conducted academic research in international human rights law as an Aisenstadt Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. In his free time, Raphael enjoys playing squash, collecting Jazz records, and reading history books.