AdviceUK is the biggest network of social welfare law advice providers in the UK. The School of Law have teamed up with AdviceUK to offer committed second and third-year LLB students and LLM students opportunities to be trained to give legal advice and information under the supervision of qualified lawyers working within its London-based member organisations.
Over the first term of the academic year, students whose applications for the scheme are selected participate in training sessions run by experts from AdviceUK. Later, individual students are matched with member organisations whose work and location best fits each student's interests. They are put in responsible roles which bring them into contact with members of the varied and often vulnerable communities served by AdviceUK members.
This diversity is matched by our Law students, who speak a large number of languages. Combined with their training in law and the commitment of the School of Law to issues of social justice, including access to law, this scheme has tremendous promise and is one which we hope to develop further.
"AdviceUK has an extremely rich resource at its disposal of around 830 independent legal advice centres and those centres provide an ideal opportunity for law students to immerse themselves in the real-world.
"Pro bono work experience represents a fantastic opportunity for students to enrich themselves, develop their skills, meet new groups of people, mix with seasoned professionals who work at the coal face, and get a sense of the working world based on the delivery of social welfare law to largely disadvantaged groups in society.
"It's a deferred gratification in some ways, because students will develop an experience that will benefit them as individuals, enhance their academic studies and give them a reflection of the law in practice, which will put them in a stronger position in terms of their desire to become lawyers in the future, or in fact non-lawyers.
"The types of experience they get will benefit them full stop. The value of the investment of their small amount of time will be disproportionately paid off for them in personal, professional and financial terms later down the line in their working lives."