“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 allows 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 the Online students. The service is managed by a solicitor with over 20 years of experience in legal practice. The Pro Bono service runs projects which allow students to obtain valuable insight into practice and experience what life is like as a lawyer (or indeed to develop transferable skills). The projects are chosen specifically with your CV in mind, allowing you to practice some of the competencies required in the legal professions whilst in turn helping members of the public gain access to justice.
At the University of Law we have an award-winning legal pro bono service. Here are details of some of the programmes we have run on the Online Campus. The programmes vary from year-to-year, but we will always provide a range of options designed to enhance the employability of our students.
Small Business Advice Line (SBAL)
We offer a virtual legal advice clinic for small businesses, which provides start-up businesses with a free 30-minute telephone appointment to speak to a commercial solicitor in relation to their query. One clinic student will be responsible for conducting the initial client interview and taking details of their legal problem, which is a fantastic opportunity to practise client interviewing skills. All students are then able to research the points in issue and are invited to attend the appointment, ask questions of the supervising solicitor, and write up the attendance note after you’ve shadowed the Commercial Solicitor during the appointment.
Groups of students prepare and give presentations on a range of different areas of the law to raise legal awareness in the community. You could get involved by researching and producing a workshop to help people who need to understand how the law affects them, such as those in schools or local charities and organisations. By taking part in this opportunity you get to practise your team working and legal research skills and then learn how to turn that research into a clear understandable presentation for members of the local community.
National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV)
This is an opportunity to volunteer with our external partner. The NCDV is an organisation that helps victims of domestic violence seek an injunction against their abusers.
A full day of training would be provided, as you will need to have knowledge of the law relating to domestic violence and a working knowledge of NCDV procedures to become involved in this programme. Once trained, you are placed on a rota to interview the client over the phone using a pro forma and would then be required to fill in the necessary paperwork to get the matter to court, so that they can obtain an injunction.
Schools Consent Project
This project teaches school children aged 11-18 about sexual offences, with a particular emphasis on the issue of consent. The aim is to equip students with a knowledge of the legal framework using interactive workshops and examples of real cases. You will develop skills in public speaking and legal research, explaining the law in a clear and concise manner to non-lawyers.
Similar to Streetlaw and Schools Consents, YOULaw works with schools and aims to equip students with a knowledge of the legal framework using interactive workshops. You will develop skills in public speaking and legal research, explaining the law in a clear and concise manner to non-lawyers.
Amnesty International Write for Rights
Students take part in a letter writing scheme on behalf of Amnesty International, culminating on International Human Rights Day in December, when hundreds of thousands of letters and emails are sent worldwide on behalf of perceived injustice. These letters aim to persuade government officials to release people imprisoned for expressing their opinion, stop the use of torture, commute death sentences, and end other human rights abuses.
Through this opportunity you will gain an insight into human rights issues and can develop your objective drafting and communication skills.
We have also run clinics in various disciplines in the past including employment law and family law, which provide additional shadowing and triage opportunities.
Our activities vary from semester to semester (we recruit at the start of the semester and run ad hoc opportunities throughout the year), so it is recommended that students sign up to our ProBono Online Campus mailing list via the Employability Portal so that they are kept up to date with upcoming activities.
Pro Bono and Work Experience
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