Janai set up the street law project Your Law to provide local youth with legal knowledge
Which pro bono project did you work on?
I set up and ran a street law project in my home town of Newham called "Your Law". This is a programme designed to empower youth by providing them with the legal knowledge required to live their everyday lives as well as getting them to think about wider legal policy issues around the topics we covered.
What did this involve?
Since I set it up and have been overseeing it ever since, my role has been varied in terms of what I have had to do. Volunteers on the programme have helped me research the law and write content and PowerPoint slides for the sessions. They have contributed to strategic design of the programme and have also delivered the sessions in schools.
Did you take part in any pro bono activity before coming to The City Law School?
I have taken part and led many pro bono related activities before coming to do my BPTC. This included working for the Free Representation Unit as a legal representative, running the Amnesty International Society at my old university, working on a legal aid campaign, running human rights sessions and being team leader on another City Law School initiative; Big Voice London.
Did you find the experience beneficial to your studies?
Yes, I have found the experience beneficial to my working life and complementary to my studies.
What do you think are the benefits of taking part in Pro Bono activities/projects?
Pro bono definitely develops a lot of skills you will need in the working world, whether that be in the law or outside of it. You get to see what you learn being carried out in practice, making everything come alive a little bit more. Usually you will be working on matters of social importance and social justice and as a law student, that was the driving force behind why I wanted to do law at all. It's great to feel like you are making a difference.
Do you have any advice or tips for new students who will take part in pro bono projects in the future?
Don't overcommit and don't be shy. Don't hold back from things because you think you don't have what it takes and do ask lots of questions. Do go for things you have a passion for - it makes everything more interesting and you will probably perform better at it as a result.