Pro Bono Opportunities at our London campuses
Pro bono publico is a Latin term meaning “for the public good.” The concept behind clinical legal education is that you have the opportunity to learn through doing by participating in projects aimed at law students which allow you to obtain the experience you need to enter legal practice. University of Law students can volunteer their time to undertake pro bono work through the University’s dedicated Pro Bono Service for London students. The service is managed by a qualified solicitor who has 20 years of experience in clinical legal education. The Pro Bono Service hosts several projects which allows students to obtain valuable insight into practice and experience what life is like as a lawyer. The projects are chosen specifically with your CV in mind allowing you to practice some of the competencies required in the legal profession whilst in turn help members of the public gain access to justice.
Overview of Pro Bono Projects in London campuses
The projects tailored to meet your needs include:
- University of Law Legal Advice Centre (ULLAC) which runs weekly advice sessions
- Streetlaw programme which allows students to take part in public legal education on a range of different areas of law including consent and police powers.
- The University of Law Placement programme which allows our students to take advantage of the relationships we have developed with legal charities for example we recruit for the National Centre for Domestic Violence; Citizens Advice and Law Centres where can you volunteer weekly to assist clients who need legal assistance.
- Our court service opportunities, where students can take part in mooting, court visits and mini marshalling.
There are wide range of opportunities on offer at the start of each term when we recruit external placements, and ad hoc opportunities are advertised throughout the year meaning that you can sign up for pro bono anytime.
University of Law Legal Advice Centre (ULLAC)
Our Legal Advice Centre was established in 1999 and currently advises members of the public on small business and family law cases.
What we do
We offer free legal advice on certain areas of law to people in need of legal advice, who may not be eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay.
Our wider network
We are a member of LawWorks a charity based in England and Wales committed to enabling access to justice through free legal advice.
Our University of Law legal advice service network
Depending on the nature of the client’s query we may be able to refer to other Centres within the University of Law network who may be able to assist.
The types of legal issues covered by our service aimed at students in London:
- All areas of family law including child contact disputes; child maintenance; divorce proceedings; initial advice on ancillary relief; parental responsibility; shared care; parenting agreements; specific issues orders; pre-nuptial agreements and court applications.
- Areas of Small Business law including Contract terms; Privacy; Shareholder entitlement; Data protection; Setting up a company; Restructuring; General Intellectual Property issues; Trademark & registered designs; General Patent queries; Partnership agreements and general partnership matters; Shareholder agreements and minority shareholder matters; Copyright; Directors’ duties, termination or disqualification
- Referrals & information on other areas of law.
Initial fact-finding interview
Prior to the client’s appointment trained University of Law Clinic Assistants conduct a fact-finding interview to obtain details of the case over the phone. They research the area of law and draft an interview plan to ensure they ask the right questions. No legal advice is provided at this point. This case summary is shared with the volunteer lawyer to enable them to prepare for the session, and upon which their advice is based. This is a fantastic opportunity to obtain experience of client interviewing, legal research and working under the supervision of a legal professional.
The information is then shared with the volunteer lawyer and supervising solicitor. Clinic Assistants are invited to the advice session with the volunteer lawyer and are tasked with drafting the attendance note of the client interview under supervision. Feedback is provided from the Supervising Solicitor, and the note is also confirmed by the volunteer lawyer allocated to the session.
If you are an undergraduate or conversion student or you simply do not have enough time to participate as a Clinic Assistant, we also offer students the opportunity to attend a ULLAC Taster Session. This is where you can observe the legal advice session being delivered without having the responsibility of drafting. Taster students are provided with a case summary before the client interview and asked to conduct legal research on the client’s case. There is a Q and A session before and after the client interview to discuss the lawyer’s approach to the case. Taster students have the option of drafting an attendance note and are provided with feedback by email.
The Legal Advice Centre is a virtual service making it accessible to all. Sessions run in the daytime and evenings, meaning you can get involved no matter when you are free to undertake pro bono work.
A wide range of experienced volunteer lawyers including barristers, in-house counsel and solicitors from private practice firms are involved in the law clinic, and you will have the opportunity to see these lawyers at work.
By volunteering your time in the Legal Advice Centre, you have the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into legal practice, whilst ‘giving back’ to the community. The skills you will develop include, legal research, client interviewing, drafting, and networking with legal professionals. You will also see law in practice; you might even use the experience to decide whether you like an area of law before committing to an elective or option on your professional course.
Pro Bono Placements
Our placements are recruited at the start of each term depending on need. They allow students the opportunity to volunteer for one day a week or more with not-for-profit organisations and charities who are keen to recruit law students to assist their clients. Placements are subject to change each year depending on the needs of external organisations. Examples of organisations we have worked with include Citizens Advice, Law Centres, Amnesty International, Intervene, IPSEA, St Mungo’s, SPSAS, Employment Litigants in Person, CENlive and the National Centre for Domestic Violence.
Each year we organise several court visits which are open to all students. Visiting a court is a fascinating experience and an effective way to learn about the court system and the judiciary. Examples of court visits we have organised in the past include visits to the Supreme Court and the Royal Courts of Justice in Central London. Usually, court staff provide a talk about the court, and students are often able to talk to a judge and watch a hearing.
We run various mock trial initiatives where students get the opportunity to participate in advocacy based on a criminal case 'heard' before a judge in a court room. This is particularly good for students who are intending upon a career at the Bar. It also builds confidence, legal research skills, teamwork, and networking skills as you will be working with senior members of the legal profession.
This is an innovative public legal education programme where students volunteer to deliver presentations to schools or community groups. Students devise and deliver these on different areas of law according to our clients’ needs. You might be delivering a presentation on stop and search or explaining the process of making a claim to an employment tribunal. All Streetlaw presentations delivered through ULaw are supervised by experienced solicitors.
London Legal Walk
Each year we organise a ULaw team of walkers who obtain sponsorship to walk 10K round legal London! You will help raise money to enable those in desperate need of legal advice obtain access to justice. It is also a fantastic way to network with lawyers as thousands participate. It ends with a fun street party in Chancery Lane at the Law Society.