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This program is Sold Out! Please register to join the waitlist. 

A Joint Program of The Advocates’ Society and Osgoode Professional Development

Canada’s premier written advocacy program is now offered in a blended online format combining the benefits of live, online learning with the flexibility of asynchronous learning – you will view pre-recorded, annotated modules on your own time, from any space. Live, online sessions will focus on interactive, small group exercises where you will get feedback on your written work and discuss core concepts with experienced judges, practitioners and writing instructors.

A Joint Program of The Advocates’ Society
and Osgoode Professional Development

Take your written advocacy skills to a new level with:

  • Expert instruction on how to improve written argument from a team of trial and appellate judges, writing professionals and top legal practitioners
  • Small, interactive breakout groups with a maximum of eight participants
  • Individual feedback and critique of your writing sample
  • Valuable tips you can use to immediately improve the precision, strength and persuasiveness of all your legal writing
  • Advice on how best to engage the reader who counts ‒ the judge
  • Insight from a panel of judges on what works and what to avoid


Planning Committee

  • The Hon. Justice Robyn Ryan Bell, Superior Court of Justice
  • Greig Henderson, University of Toronto, Department of English
  • Andrea Laing, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Barbara Morris, Humber College

Keynote Address

  • The Hon. Justice David Stratas, Federal Court of Appeal

Past Faculty have Included:

  • The Hon. Justice Peter M. S. Bryson, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal
  • The Hon. Justice Barbara A. Conway, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice David L. Corbett, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice J. Michal Fairburn, Court of Appeal for Ontario
  • The Hon. Justice John B. Laskin, Federal Court of Appeal
  • The Hon. Justice Peter D. Lauwers, Court of Appeal for Ontario
  • The Hon. Justice Michael A. Penny, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice Robyn M. Ryan Bell, Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. Justice Katherine van Rensburg, Court of Appeal for Ontario


  • Frank Au, Crown Law Office – Criminal Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Jonathan Bell, Bennett Jones LLP
  • Gerald Chan, Stockwoods LLP
  • Shantona Chaudhury, Pape Chaudhury LLP
  • Falguni Debnath, Court of Appeal for Ontario
  • Andrea Laing, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Paul Michell, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP
  • Julia Tremain, Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation

Writing Instructors

  • Antonella Ceddia, City of Toronto, Legal Services
  • Professor Greig Henderson, University of Toronto Department of English
  • Dr. Barbara Morris, Humber College
  • Dr. Craig Patterson, Humber College
  • Howard C. Rubel Heller, Rubel Barristers
  • Dr. Melanie Stevenson, Writing & Rhetoric and Engineering Communication Programs University of Toronto Professor Cheryl Suzack, Department of English, University of Toronto
  • Kathrine Vitale Lopez, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto



The program will consist of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded sessions you can view on demand) components. The live sessions will be hands-on, interactive meetings with your faculty, and other participants. These will take place through Zoom Meetings. You will be seen and heard online. This will require a webcam and speaker/microphone.

You must view the assigned homework plenary videos prior to the date of your session. Specific information will follow.

Mandatory Writing Sample

Shortly after you register, you will be provided with instructions on how to submit/upload your writing sample.


Given the structure of the program, we recommend that you submit a factum. A factum on behalf of the

applicant, appellant or moving party is preferred, but if necessary, a respondent’s factum is acceptable.

If you have not yet written a factum, a written argument or other court submission is also acceptable.

Articles and/or other written legal and non-legal documents are not acceptable (eg. Opinion letters; Memos).

It is imperative that the sample not relate to matters currently before the courts – no exceptions.

Please email megan@advocates.ca if you have any questions or concerns about your writing sample.


  • You may submit in word OR in pdf.
  • Feel free to redact names/non-essential facts. This is your client and should be your call/judgment.
  • Your name MUST BE clearly marked on the first page of the sample.
  • Do not include supplementary documentation and appendices.
  • Ensure your writing sample is preloaded and available for use during the program.

Justice Marvin Catzman Bursary Fund

This bursary was created in memory of Justice Catzman, whose commitment to improving legal writing

was underscored by his participation in the Written Advocacy program. It provides a candidate who would not otherwise be able to attend the program due to financial constraints, full admission to the program. To apply, send a CV, a cover letter, and a copy of your previous year’s tax return by September 30, 2020 to:

Gail Geronimo
Program Lawyer
Osgoode Professional Development
1 Dundas Street W. 26th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 1Z3


Fees include attendance and program materials. Please inquire about financial assistance.

Program Changes

We will make every effort to present the program as advertised, but it may be necessary to change the date, location, speakers or content with little or no notice. In the event of program cancellation, York University and Osgoode Hall Law School’s liability is limited to reimbursement of paid fees.

Cancellations and Substitutions

Substitutions of participants is permitted with payment of a $150 administration fee per substitution. For participant substitution requests two weeks or less prior to the program, please contact Gail Geronimo at ggeronimo@osgoode.yorku.ca. Substitutes must contact Osgoode Professional Development to ensure a writing sample is submitted. Non-attendance at all or part of the program does not entitle a participant to a refund or a credit.


Have questions? Read our FAQs.

Program Details

Questions on program registration?
Please contact the Registration Team at osgoodepd@osgoode.yorku.ca

Questions on the program content?
Please contact the Program Lawyer:
Gail Geronimo at ggeronimo@osgoode.yorku.ca

Program Details

Date & Time

Day 1
November 9, 2020
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST

Day 2
November 11, 2020

4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST

Day 3
November 17, 2020
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST

Day 4
November 19, 2020
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST



Fee per Delegate

$1,795 plus HST

Register to join Waitlist

Printable Registration Form

Eligible CPD Credit Hours


Who Should Attend

  • Litigation lawyers at all levels of experience and practice areas
  • In-house counsel
  • Sole practitioners
  • Crown attorneys
  • Criminal defence lawyers
  • Government counsel
  • Articling students who have drafted submissions

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“An amazing opportunity to obtain hands-on, practical advice from members of the judiciary and leading practitioners.”

Matthew Huys
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

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