The School of Law recognises and supports its students' critical need to enhance their prospects of gaining employment within the legal sector by adding to strong academic performance a good record of practical experience and skills.
We have a long-standing record of active membership in the local law society and good links with alumni working in a variety of fields of legal practice.
Through arrangements with a growing number of firms, chambers, law clinics, and local and international NGOs, we facilitate work experience opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students, either temporary or on an on-going basis throughout the academic year. Some of the organisations we have worked with include 36 Bedford Row; Matrix Chambers; the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre based at Middlesex University; the Immigration Appeals Tribunal; and Cavendish Legal Services, among many others.
Information about competitions and opportunities to gain work experience is continuously communicated to students, who also have access to support and advice on CV writing and interview skills. We also offer a range of credit-bearing placement modules to our third-year students who work part-time within the legal sector.
A number of events and outings relevant to career development are arranged by the Department of Law, including court and parliament visits, law fairs and competitions. Throughout the year, we also run a full programme of presentations and workshops for students, delivered by practicing lawyers from a variety of fields along with judges from different parts of the civil and criminal justice systems.
Lawyers and judges regularly contribute as guest speakers within many of the modules on the law programmes and we host sessions where firms, chambers and alternative business structures provide free legal information and advice on areas of particular interest to individuals and businesses within the local community. We also put on continuing legal development events for local lawyers.
Events our students have been involved in include tours of the UK Supreme Court, visits to the London Law Fair, and a Middlesex Law Society reception at the House of Commons, while notable guests for our Professional Speakers Series include former Circuit Judge Her Honour Nazreen Pearce, Head of Development and Policy at AdviceUK, Chilli Reid, and founder of AspiringSolicitors, Chris White.
A feature of the curricula on most of our programmes is the embedding of legal skills, such as mooting and legal research and writing, which we are set to expand through additional clinical option modules. Students employed part-time in the legal sector are eligible to take a range of credit-bearing placement modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
A central aspect of our work expanding Clinical Legal Education involves reshaping our curricula by adding further modules that help students acquire the practical as well as the intellectual skills they need to stand out as potential lawyers.
Examples of this include the 'Legal Method' module in year one of our LLB and BA Law programmes, which sees students engage in mooting as part of their assessment. We are also piloting an optional Advanced Legal Skills module for second-year students on our qualifying law degree, who participate in negotiations, consider aspects of legal ethics and learn about the growing use of mediation by legal practitioners. We plan to add further such modules at other levels and across more of our programmes.
Pro bono legal work is voluntary legal advice given to those who are unable to afford it and cannot access legal aid. It comes from the Latin phrase pro bono publico, which means 'for the public good'. According to the Law Society, almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of solicitors had undertaken pro bono work at some point in their legal career. It is a great way to gain experience in the profession as well as give something back to the local community.