The University of Law to launch UK first human rights scholarship with the Clooney Foundation for Justice. Find out more
Conflict in Israel and Gaza – support for students. Find out more


My pro bono experience: An interview with Amanda Hamilton

Alumna Amanda Hamilton completed the GDL (now known as the Postgraduate Diploma in Law or PGDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) at our Nottingham campus. During her studies, she undertook a number of pro bono placements to support those in legal need and improve her skills. We sat down with Amanda to discuss her pro bono experience and how it set her up for a career in law.

By Cara Fielder. Published 2 August 2023. 

I chose to study at The University of Law because it stood out, both in terms of the course structure of the Graduate Diploma in Law (now known as the PGDL) and from its commended reputation by those in the profession. The Nottingham campus appealed as I wanted a smaller cohort to study with.. I felt it would be beneficial and provided a close-knit learning environment with my course mates and tutors that I did not have during my undergraduate degree. The University’s career service, National Law Fair, employer events and pro bono opportunities were also big factors in my decision to choose The University of Law.

When it comes to explaining pro bono work, I will refer to the Law Society, who defines it as ‘legal advice or representation provided free of charge by legal professionals in the public interest. This can be to individuals, charities or community groups who cannot afford to pay for legal help and cannot get legal aid or any other means of funding’.

I originally got involved with pro bono work to gain legal work experience, as I did not have much prior to starting the GDL. However, once I got involved in the pro bono projects, I was keen to continue as I both enjoyed the assistive nature of the work, and I could see the positive impact the work was having..

I was able to get involved with a variety of projects that focused on different areas of the law. Pro bono was a great opportunity to find out what work I enjoyed, and each project utilised a range of skills that I received feedback on,  so I could develop my skillset.

During my time at the University, I was involved in the following pro bono projects:


  • Legal Advice Clinic (LAC)

The LAC at the Nottingham campus provides initial legal advice to members of the public on a range of housing issues (with a focus on Landlord and Tenant matters).  Whilst volunteering at the clinic, I conducted client interviews, researched the relevant issues and produced letters of advice. It was an invaluable opportunity to work alongside and learn from my supervising solicitor and gain experience in providing practical written advice to client issues. This experience was extremely beneficial, and I was able to take the interviewing and drafting skills I had developed forward into my training contract.

The Street Law project aims to make school students aware of their legal rights and responsibilities through legal presentations. I worked with a teammate to research and produce recorded presentations on the law around cyberbullying and sexting.

I gained valuable exposure in creating, delivering and tailoring a presentation to a specific audience and learnt how to research unfamiliar areas of the law. My involvement in Street Law was extremely beneficial and gave me the confidence and presentation skills that I have since used on multiple occasions during my training contract, both internally and for external client presentations.

  • Midlands Employment Rights Advice Line (MERAL)

MERAL is a free employment law advice service and my work involved interviewing a client to record the facts of their case. I would then complete an attendance note for an external volunteer lawyer so they could then provide their advice. It was a valuable experience learning from the lawyer and gaining an insight into employment law in practice.

  • Employment tribunal marshalling

I shadowed a Nottingham Employment Tribunal Judge and attended multiple hearings online. It was a great opportunity to gain insight into employment law, particularly the contentious side, and to be able to network with members of the judiciary.

Following my involvement with Street Law, I set up a student society called Talking Legal to work alongside the project. The aim of the society is to offer a platform for students across the campuses to gain relevant experience and develop their confidence in legal presentations through organising and hosting skills workshops. As a committee member, I also have an active role in assisting in the supervision of the new Street Law presentations. I have enjoyed being able to use my own presentation experience to help groups and offer constructive feedback.

Talking Legal was shortlisted for the Best Contribution by a Team of Students award at the 2021 LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards, which me and the team were very proud of.

I would recommend students get involved with as many of the pro bono opportunities as possible. The projects available at the University are invaluable in terms of being able to gain relevant legal work experience and improve key skills such as interviewing, drafting, presenting and research (to name a few).


Learn more about the pro bono opportunities when you study with us.