Student Pro Bono at Law School
LawWorks works closely with many law schools around the country to help set up projects. If you would like assistance and advice feel free to get in touch. Our contact details are on the main page in this section.
Please note that all of our assistance to law schools is given free of charge.
We also monitor what activities are organised around the country and can help to put you in touch with other law schools who may be able to help you and share their experiences with you.
Go to the database on www.studentprobono.net for the most up to date information on what each law school is doing, uploaded by the law schools themsleves.
In addition to this the Citizens Advice Bureau have drafted a toolkit for students interested in their social policy work. Please see the toolkit here if you are interested.
Currently there are four main areas of student pro bono activity, as follows:
1 - Streetlaw
Streetlaw is a form of 'public legal education' (see the Links & Resources page for more information).
The law school and/or its students first make links with local community groups, schools, prisons, etc. and ask them what areas of law the group would find it useful to know more about. The students then research the topic, ascertain the law applicable to the area, and then prepare an interactive workshop, which they deliver to the group.
Thanks to the help of The College of Law, we are able to provide you with a sample handbook, which you can adapt for your programme, as well as information on teaching methods and a sample session aimed at school pupils.
We can help you to set up your Streetlaw programme and put you in touch with others who can share their experiences with you.
2 - External Student Placements
A law school may face logistical concerns about running pro bono activity internally. In these circumstances one answer may be to make arrangements with external agencies and charities and place students with these organisations for agreed periods of time.
Have a look at this page for more details on projects students can get involved in outside of their law school.
3 - Law School Legal Advice Clinics
LawWorks have many years of experience in setting up legal advice clinics and are happy to assist any law school that wishes to embark on such a project. In particular we have good links with lawyers who may supervise the students' work, and with the venues that might host the clinic if there is not room within the law school's own premises.
The clinic will need rules to govern its operation and the conduct of all those parties involved. The sample handbook below is designed to act as a guide as to the sort of things your handbook might cover (N.B. elements of it are now out of date). A clinic that is built into the curriculum, for example, will probably require a more complex handbook than one which is purely voluntary. We recommend, therefore, that any new clinic consults with us on its set up and operation. We can always tailor a unique handbook for each of the clinics we assist.
There is a series of ongoing benefits that LawWorks can provide to help the clinic succeed and offer as comprehensive a service as possible to its clients. Click on the link below to view a document summarising these benefits.
4 - Miscarriage of Justice & The Innocence Project
A growing number of universities around the UK are taking on criminal cases, with a view to helping victims of alleged miscarriages of justice. One particular group that helps coordinate this work and set the standards for student involvemet is the Innocence Network UK, which focuses on assisting those prisoners who maintain their innocence. You can find out more about this work here.
The Innocence Projects Day took place in National Pro Bono Week 2008 and encouraged participating law schools to provide information to their community on wrongful conviction and the methods of appeal. You can view details of forthcoming events and past events.
Want to work with your local Citizens Advice Bureau? Interested in social policy? Want to make a difference?
The Citizens Advice Bureau have drafted a toolkit for students interested in their social policy work. Please see the toolkit here if you are interested.