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 some of the schemes that Reading students have taken part in:
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.
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.
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.
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 judge at a local Crown Court, learning skills that you can later put into action.
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.
Reading Refugee Support Group
You could train as a volunteer caseworker, providing advice and support for refugees and asylum seekers.
National Centre for Domestic Violence
This organisation assists the victims of domestic violence and offers you the chance to assist those victims in obtaining legal protection through the civil courts.