Pro bono is an increasingly important part of legal education and practice that is both challenging and rewarding. At The University of Law we have been committed to providing a pro bono service since 2001. Here are details of some of the schemes we have run in Guildford.
Legal Advice Centre (LAC)
The LAC provides free, preliminary legal advice to the public on a wide variety of civil issues. Whilst providing support at this centre you will interview a client and produce an advice letter, carefully supervised by our Supervising Solicitor, in order to help you gain interviewing, drafting and file management skills through hands-on experience.
Legal Advice Centre Triage
This experience will see you calling potential clients for the Legal Advice Centre and taking details of their legal problem before considering, with the help of the Supervising Solicitor, whether the Legal Advice Centre can help.
Guildford Employment Rights Advice Line Direct (GERALD)
Run in conjunction with local law firms, this initiative gives free legal advice on employment law issues to members of the public via telephone. From messages forwarded to you, you will phone clients to obtain basic details and take notes of the advice given by the volunteer solicitor at weekly clinics.
Brighton Leasehold Advice Clinic (BLAC)
BLAC provides free, preliminary advice to the public on leasehold matters e.g. amount / reasonableness of service charges, enfranchisement of flats, defective leases, administrative charges and the right to manage. You can gain interviewing, drafting and file management skills by preparing the necessary paperwork, attending client interviews to take notes and producing an advice letter under the supervision of the volunteering Solicitor.
Family Law Advice Guildford (FLAG)
This experience will see you calling clients, obtaining details from them regarding their legal query, and then taking notes on the advice they’ve been given at our telephone clinics by one of our volunteer local lawyers.
National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV)
This organisation provides fast, free legal advice and support for victims of domestic violence. In particular it runs an emergency injunction service allowing anybody, regardless of financial circumstances to obtain protection through the civil courts (usually an injunction) within 24 hours. After suitable training you could volunteer for various duties within NCDV’s headquarters based in Guildford.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice offers free help and advice to members of the public on a variety of topics. All offices have trained volunteer advisors as well as some volunteer solicitors. The services they offer include legal advice and help with form filling.
You could take part in the following activities:
- Help with a combination of reception duties, observation of client interviews, note-taking, preparing brief case notes and answering phone calls from the public.
- Be trained to prepare case submissions on benefit appeals to the First Tier Tribunal concerning overpayment of benefits and rejection of claims for Disability Living Allowance or Employment Support Allowance.
- Train to be a Gateway Assessor or a Generalist / Specialist Advisor.
International Law Book Facility
This charity organises packing and shipment of law books to Commonwealth countries. You could volunteer to help with unpacking donated books or repackaging them for onward shipment to where they are needed.
Why not spend a day shadowing a local District Judge? This invaluable experience will enable you to gain an insight into civil justice in practice.
Crown Court Marshalling
You can also spend a day shadowing a Crown Court Judge at Guildford Crown Court, learning skills that you can later put into action.