The University of South Wales’ (USW) School of Law has partnered with leading Welsh law firm, Capital Law, to develop its Legal Advice Clinic’s pro bono initiative. The new scheme will see junior lawyers from Capital Law collaborate with Student Clinic Volunteers, to provide pro bono legal advice to the community.
The School of Law set up the Clinic to increase its students’ opportunities for legal pro bono work. The Clinic is a free community-based face-to-face advice service staffed by trained Student Clinic Volunteers, who work under the supervision of practising solicitors and barristers.
Managed remotely from Capital Law’s offices by Richard Thomas, who heads up the firm’s Employment and Immigration team, and Nicola Mead-Batten, who leads its Public Law & Regulatory services, the junior lawyers will work on a rota-based system. Each week, two of the trainee solicitors will be ‘on-call’, supporting the students who interview clients, assess them and draw legal advice.
The junior lawyers help the students with a variety of legal queries, including pre-interview preparations, legal research and drafting letters of advice.
The issues they advise on relate to:
- Debt recovery
- Company Start Ups
- Partnership Agreements
- Commercial Property
- Commercial Disputes
- Public law/Judicial Review
As well as offering valuable community service, this collaborative programme provides training ground for both the students and the trainees, who can develop many legal and transferable skills while learning the art of pro bono.
While at the Clinic, students also participate in the Employment Tribunal Litigant in Person Support Scheme (ELIPS). Helped by solicitors from Capital Law’s Employment team, they offer support to those who are pursuing an employment claim with no legal representation.
Dr Dom Page, Head of the South Wales Business School, Faculty of Business and Society:
“As a University that leads the way by engaging with industry; this is a fantastic opportunity for our students to engage with both the community and the legal profession as part of their study with us. We are looking forward to officially launching this initiative and to working alongside Capital Law to make it a success for all involved.”
Richard Thomas, Partner at Capital Law, said:
“We already partner with USW on several exciting projects – such as assisting unrepresented litigants in tribunal, or supporting student entrepreneurship. This new collaboration is a natural next step, that we’re delighted to be taking. The Legal Advice Clinic will give access to a broader range of legal services to those who need it, and without doubt, will be very formative for students and trainees alike. It’s a precious resource, for the community and for everyone involved.”
Nina Holmes, Trainee Solicitor at Capital Law, said:
“While studying at USW, I had the opportunity to take part in the Legal Advice Clinic and there’s no mistaking the benefits that the first hand, practical experience gave me. It enhanced my commercial awareness, while giving me a practical understanding of areas of law that I had not previously considered or been exposed to. I am now really looking forward to return as a trainee: it’s a unique opportunity for us to use the skills we’ve acquired since joining Capital, and to develop relationships in the pro bono community.”