COLLABORATION

USW’s partnership forms pro-bono legal service

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University of South Wales forms partnership to develop its Legal Advice Clinic’s pro-bono initiative.

The University of South Wales’ (USW) School of Law’s partnership with leading Welsh law firm, Capital Law, aims to develop its Legal Advice Clinic’s initiative which will provide pro-bono legal service to the community.

This free service will be made possible through the collaboration between the legal firm’s junior lawyers with volunteers from the student clinic.

This initiative is a two-pronged approach by the university’s School of Law to give back to the community, while creating opportunities for its students to take up legal pro-bono work, which will equip them with real world skills.

The student clinic is a free community-based face-to-face advice service fully operated by trained student volunteers. The volunteers work under the supervision of practicing solicitors and barristers from the legal firm.

Commenting in this programme, Head of the South Wales Business School, Faculty of Business and Society, Dom Page said, “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.”

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This programme will be managed remotely by Capital Law’s Employment and Immigration Head, Richard Thomas and Head of Public Law & Regulatory service, Nicola Mead-Batten.

The junior lawyers from the firm will work on a rotation system to contribute their expertise to the programme. Each week, two of the trainee solicitors will be ‘on-call’, providing support to the students as required on various fields including employment, debt recovery, company start-ups, partnership agreements, commercial property, commercial disputes and also matters relating to public law or judicial review.

The junior lawyers from the firm will help students attend to legal queries, including pre-interview preparations, legal research and drafting letters of advice.

Students from the university will not only have the opportunity to provide valuable community service, this programme is a training ground for both students and facilitators who can develop many legal and transferable skills while learning the art of pro-bono.

Partner at Capital Law, Richard Thomas added that the firm is already collaborating with the university on several exciting projects – such as assisting unrepresented litigants in tribunal, or supporting student entrepreneurship.

Thomas believes that this collaboration is a natural progression of the existing partnership with the university.

He also added that 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.

He summed up this initiative by likening it to a precious resource, for the community and for the partners involved.

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While at the clinic, students also participate in the Employment Tribunal Litigant in Person Support Scheme (ELIPS).

Through the support of solicitors from Capital Law’s Employment team, they offer support to those who are pursuing an employment claim with no legal representation.

Trainee solicitor at Capital Law, Nina Holmes expressed gratitude for being given an opportunity to be a part of this programme, “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.”

Holmes added that this exposure enhanced her commercial awareness, while giving her practical understanding of areas of law that she had not previously considered or been exposed to.

Holmes adds that she is now looking forward to return as a trainee as it is a unique opportunity for her to use the skills she had acquired since joining Capital, and also as it gives her the chance to develop relationships in the pro-bono community.