The College of Law is preparing for a busy calendar of pro bono activities during National Pro Bono Week, which starts today (Monday, November 7).
Activities organised by the College to mark the annual event, which runs until Friday, November 11, includes staffing a legal advice clinic at a day centre for homeless people, running employment rights advice clinics and training university students to give presentations on legal issues to local communities.
National Pro Bono Week comprises nationwide events to celebrate the range of pro bono activities undertaken by solicitors, barristers, legal executives and law students, which provide legal advice to people otherwise unable to afford it.
During the week students from the College’s London Moorgate centre will be volunteering at a legal advice clinic held at the Dellow Day Centre for homeless people in East London. The centre is run by homeless charity Providence Row.
Students will work with volunteer advisers, taking initial client details, observing interviews and carrying out follow-up tasks. In complex cases, this involves accessing specialist legal advice for the client.
The College’s Guildford, Birmingham and York centres will be holding their regular employment rights advice clinics for people with employment problems. The Birmingham Employment Rights Advice Line (BERAL), the Guildford Employment Rights Advice Line Direct (GERALD) and York’s Employment Rights Line (ERL) are staffed by fully-qualified employment lawyers supported by College students.
At the Manchester and Chester centres students, staff and local lawyers will participate in clinics held at the College’s Legal Advice Centres (LACs). The LACs provide free, preliminary legal advice to the public on a wide variety of issues. Students interview clients and produce advice letters, carefully supervised throughout by qualified solicitors.
The pro bono team at the College’s York centre will help to pass on their expertise by providing training for students from Hull and Leeds universities in giving Streetlaw presentations. Streetlaw involves students working directly with schools, community groups and prisons to raise awareness about different areas of law.
Meanwhile students at the Moorgate centre will run an intellectual property letter writing clinic in conjunction with Own-it, an organisation supporting start-up businesses in the creative industries. Students draft materials for Own-it’s website including letters of advice to individual queries under supervision of external solicitors and College academic staff.
The Moorgate centre will also be running its new Legal Advice For Start-ups clinic (LASU), which provides free legal advice to students at the University of the Arts London on starting up their own businesses.Lindsay Ward, Senior Pro Bono Co-ordinator at The College of Law said: “National Pro Bono Week is important as it helps raise awareness of the many excellent pro bono schemes taking place across the country throughout the year.
“The College runs incredibly busy and varied pro bono programmes at all of our centres, which allow our students to get experience in dealing with real cases and also help the local community. Students gain valuable first-hand experience of client relationships, legal research and drafting while at the same time benefitting people, who may otherwise not have access to legal guidance."
Further information from Lucy Wray, Press Officer, The College of Law on 01483 216072 (firstname.lastname@example.org)