We offer programs that cover a variety of legal topics. Feel free to browse below. If your organization is interested in hosting one of these talks, please contact Heather Hui-Litwin at heather.hui.litwin@alum.utoronto.ca

(A) General Series

(1) Program Title: Who does what in the Legal System?

Program Description: Many litigants or people who become involved in court do not realize that in addition to lawyers, there are many other professionals who may be very helpful to their matters. One example is “process servers.” These are people who deliver and serve court papers. Another are court reporting services, where one holds “out of court” examinations in preparation for trial. In this talk Heather Hui-Litwin (Ph.D., J.D., LL.M.) will explain who the various professionals are, such as mediators, paralegals, financial evaluators, etc. and what they do and how to find them.

(2) Program Title: What to Expect in a Civil Lawsuit?

Program Description: Many people go into lawsuits without any knowledge as to how a lawsuit unfolds, or what to expect. Many people express disbelief when they finally find out, at the end of a lawsuit, that the court does not enforce the judgement for you when you win!

In this talk, you will be introduced to a summary of the entire process, beginning with pleadings, the various procedures and deadlines that occur before trial, trial itself and enforcement, and a very brief introduction to what appeals involve.

You will learn the following what the basic phases are in a civil lawsuit:




-Pre-trial conferences




You will learn about the concept of “precedents.” You will learn about the different sets of laws and rules and customs (practices) that may apply.

(3) Program Title: How to get Legal Advice without Breaking the Bank

Program Description: Many people who are involved in lawsuits know that they need to hire lawyers to help them. However, due to the huge costs, many are choosing to represent themselves instead. 

Currently, there are some very useful legal information websites that are free to the public. Despite this, most people recognize they still need to have individual assistance and advice from in-person consultations with lawyers. 

One type of live, in-person legal help can be found in legal clinics. Some are located right in court houses. Others are specialized clinics which offer services in specific subject areas, such as family, business etc. I will give examples of these.

Secondly, lawyers are beginning to offer what is known as “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” or “limited scope” services. This type of service means that lawyers can help you for discrete parts of your lawsuit. This kind of service is supported by the Law Society of Ontario. It is also acknowledged in the rules governing lawsuits, and in the rules governing the legal profession.

(4) Program title: Myths and Misconceptions about the Legal System.

Program Description: Heather says, “Before I became a lawyer, I held many assumptions about the court process. As a lay litigant during the early stages in our lawsuit, I thought that as an educated adult, I certainly understood what fairness means, what’s right and wrong, and what constitutes a fair hearing process, and I should be able to represent myself at court.  I was  continually surprised as I proceeded through our lawsuit. One of the biggest surprise to me is that even when you are awarded a judgement in your favour, it is still up to you to enforce the judgement. Furthermore, even if you think you have a meritorious case as a plaintiff, you can still end up losing your day in court!  There are numerous other surprises that I learned over the years.  I hope that by telling  you about the realities of litigation, you will be able to make more informed decisions about your own court case.”

(B) Family Law Series

(1) Program title: Divorce and Separation: What are my Options

Program description: Many people tie divorce with going to court. In fact, there are other ways to go through a divorce other than traditional litigation. Laura Tarcea and Eva DiGiammarino will compare the processes of going to court in family law, versus mediation and collaborative lawyering, both of which provide much less antagonistic and more cost effective approaches. Examples of custody and support issues will be used to explain the three approaches.

(2) Program title: What’s the Difference between Mediation and Litigation

Program description: Many people assume that when you are involved in a dispute, you must go through the court system. Furthermore, you have no choice but to hire lawyers to represent you throughout the whole process. In fact, you have options! You can also choose to have a neutral, third party professional to help you both reach a resolution through mediation. Eva Di Giammarino and Laura Tarcea will explain what the major differences are between filing a lawsuit and going through the public process of litigation and resolving differences through the cooperative and confidential mediation. They will discuss when each process is appropriate for what circumstances.

(C) Business Law/ Employment/Personal Finance Series

(1) Program title: Incorporation Basics

Program description: More and more people are opening up their own businesses these days. However, there is more to be done than just getting a website, or having inventory ready! Before starting a business, it is important  to be aware of basic legal requirements, such as how corporations are set up,  what legal documents have to be filed with the government, and what the pros and cons are in setting up a corporation. 

(2) Program title: “You can’t fire me! I quit!” What you need to know about employment termination.

Program description: Many people have experienced discontent at their jobs, and wished they could quit.  However, most do not understand the legal implications of quitting versus being fired. For example, an employee who quits their job could forego compensation such as severance pay. 

(3) Program title: Employment Standards Minimum-What you need to know to protect your rights as an employee

Program description: Did you know that Ontario’s Employment Standards Act protect employees by setting out minimum wages, hours of work, overtime pay, etc.?  Make sure your rights are not violated by attending this important presentation. This talk is especially appropriate for young people starting out their careers, or those returning to work after a break. 

(4) Program title: Will and Estate Basics

Program description: Many people know that they should be planning their estate and have a will in place. However, the thought of having to see a lawyer usually dampens their motivation to do these tasks. Let Heather and Samuel make it easier by hosting this talk at the library! We will answer some of the frequently asked questions, such as “Do I really need a will?”, “When should I update my will?” and “What does probate mean?”. We will also explain other important concepts like Power of Attorneys and trusts.