Our Pro bono programme has grown to include a number of partnership programmes at local, national and international level.
We encourage you to play an active role in the daily running of these projects and in the development of both new and existing projects. Please note not all opportunities are available to all law students.
Pro Bono opportunities
Blackfriars Settlement Advice Clinic
This is a partnership clinic that works with a large firm of solicitors where their lawyers provide advice to the clients at the Blackfriars legal clinic on Contract disputes, Employment and Housing – see appointments. The students interview the clients and pass the information to the solicitors and the students attend at the clinic in Waterloo on a Wednesday evening. They shadow the solicitors in the clinic and observe the legal advice.
City University Volunteering
One of the great advantages of studying at City Law School is the opportunity to have access to it’s central volunteering services. This allows students access to over 200 organisations who are looking for volunteers.
Some of these organisations are directly related to and working in the area of law. All students can volunteer and they do so by registering on the volunteering page. They can also contact Ben Robinson with any enquiries on firstname.lastname@example.org.
City law students of all levels are able to observe and participate as qualified lawyers consult with people who have set up small businesses.
The sessions cover the full range of commercial issues faced by small and growing businesses, from setting up companies and partnerships all the way through to insolvency.
This is an education rather than advice service, so clients who are taking further action are either signposted onward to appropriate partners or permitted to follow up with our solicitors directly.
The School Exclusion Project
This project provides free advocacy to help parents appeal against their child’s permanent exclusion. We specialise in disability discrimination and cases where the child has special educational needs.
Those children with disabilities and special educational needs are at a much higher risk of being permanently excluded, and therefore require greater protection and a louder voice.
GDL students at City University are given training on the law of school exclusions and disability discrimination by Sarah Hannett, the barrister director, who has expertise in each of these fields.
Each student is then assigned to a barrister mentor at Matrix Chambers or 11KBW. These practitioners, ranging from QCs to more junior practitioners, are all people with experience of running education cases.
These students are managed by a team of dedicated student directors from the BVS. These students are responsible for the day-to-day running of the project’s cases, and for all of the outreach and publicity work.
Free Legal Advice Clinic
The Free Legal Advice Clinic provides free, confidential and independent legal advice at its clinics to the local community whilst giving students the chance to gain practical experience of the legal profession. It covers all areas of civil law, excluding immigration and provided the matter is not too complex and no court proceedings have been issued.
Student roles range from receptionist to office manager, to legal assistant to adviser. We are not able to run a full range of clinics presently due to Covid-19 and those that are running are running virtually.
Free Representation Unit (FRU)
The Free Representation Unit (FRU) is a charity that provides legal advice, case preparation and advocacy in employment, social security, and some criminal injury compensation tribunal cases. Their clients could not otherwise obtain legal support for want of personal means and public funding.
Most Law students can either do this as a Pro bono activity from the end of their second year LLB or GDL by contacting FRU directly or choose it as an option subject on the BVS LLM whereby their involvement on a case is then assessed as part of the BVS process.
The opportunity is for students to advise and represent clients in the Employment and Social Security Tribunals after having undergone a training programme and intensive supervision from FRU legal officers.
If you volunteer with FRU for academic credit on our professional programs or if you volunteer for FRU Pro Bono you will need to register, and you will need to pass their internal test. Do not delay in registering with FRU and taking the test.
These dates are intensely popular so please do register and book as soon as a date is available.
Pro Bono Community
This is a 3rd Year clinical option module available to 3rd Year LLBs who can undertake a taught course ending with a reflective journal and a placement in a law centre/advice centre.
Schools Consent Project
The Schools Consent Project is a lawyer-run initiative which visits schools to discuss the legal definition of ‘consent’ and key sexual offences (including ‘sexting’) with students aged 11-18.
We aim to normalise conversations about consent in order to challenge sexually harmful attitudes amongst young people.
This is a great opportunity for students to learn presentational skills around a specific legal area and students will be trained before going into the classroom.
Open to all our LPC/BVS/GDL and 3rd Year LLB students.
South African Ubuntu Internship Programme
This project will not be running Summer 2021 due to the global pandemic.
We send three students per year on a self-financed trip to an internship programme at the Western Cape University over the summer.
On the internship students assist with the advice clinic, carry out street law projects and go with attorneys to observe court hearings.
This is an incredibly exciting opportunity and is akin to working in a South African attorney's office with all the attendant learning outcomes.
We pay student air fares. Open to LPC/BVS students.
Vocalise is an award winning volunteer programme established by Gray’s Inn and has become the focal point of debating at City since 2010.
Students are trained to teach debating over a 12 week period. Following this period, students then go into prisons and schools to teach debating. The scheme received more publicity in a The Guardian article.
This opportunity is extremely beneficial for students to take part in as the training involves a lot of public speaking and debating which strengthens advocacy abilities. Open to all students. Open to GDL/BVS students only.
Please apply directly to Vocalise. They usually recruit mentors at the beginning of October.
Refugee Law Clinic
The University of London (UoL) has recently launched the Refugee Law Clinic that provides pro bono legal advice for refugee clients based on a model of Clinical Legal Education for its diverse student body.
Delivered in partnership with two law firms, the Refugee Law Clinic also provides the opportunity for lawyers to undertake pro bono work within the clinic.
The clinic’s main legal focus will be on advising and preparing fresh claims for asylum, an area identified as underserviced in the current legal landscape and aims to complement the work of law firms and other service providers in London.
The UoL Refugee Law Clinic is an inter-collegiate project of the University of London and at this stage has committed involvement from ten of the University’s Member Institutions, who will each be sending students to volunteer in the clinic.
The project has also partnered with two commercial law firms who will be sending volunteer lawyers to engage in the Clinic:
- Clifford Chance LLP
- Macfarlanes LLP.
This opportunity is only available to our LLB students.
The Company Insolvency Pro Bono Scheme
We provide free legal help for Litigants-in-Person (LiPs) appearing before the winding up court on Wednesdays. We operate from Consultation Room 17 in the High Court, Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London.
We can assist with the following:
- Advice on the law and procedure in the winding up court
- How to make or respond to a winding up petition
- Representation on your behalf before the winding up court
- What will happen after a winding up order is made
- How to apply for a validation order, rescission/appeal of a winding up order
- Provide you with guides on how to make the applications at v) above and how to write a witness statement
Coronavirus Update: Litigants-in-Person can contact us via email with brief details of your enquiry.
We will arrange a conference with a barrister via Zoom. Please submit an enquiry by completing the Company Insolvency Pro Bono Scheme enquiry form.
Nature of Pro Bono Work
Barristers provide free legal advice and representation to the LiPs. Students will sit with the barristers in conferences and observe in court when the barrister makes submissions before the Insolvency and Companies Court Judges.
Information for Students
How to apply
You will be asked to indicate your preference for a clinical project when you register for the BVS LLM (Clinical Legal Education).
There will be a shortlist of students who put the Company Insolvency pro bono scheme as their first choice. Students on the shortlist will be invited for an interview and thereafter, 12 students will be chosen for the scheme.
Students will attend a training session conducted by a barrister who specialises in Chancery and Commercial law.
Students will be on duty on a rota system. They are expected to volunteer once a month from October to July.
Employment Law Clinic
Looking for Legal Advice for Employment Law.
City University offers one on one appointments with a specialist Employment Law Solicitors on any area of Employment Law.
Student roles are that of legal assistant and student director. If you are selected to join the clinic you will experience a full range of Employment Law issues and see the advice given by solicitors. The clinic runs monthly with the last clinic in June of the academic year.
Students on the BVS are able to take one of three pathways. One of these pathways involve a BVS LLM. Students who undertake the LLM can apply to undertake a one-year placement with Appeal. Working on miscarriages of justice and policy work.
APPEAL SCREEN TO FIND CASES WITH MERIT AND HIGH POTENTIAL IMPACT, AND THEN DIG DEEP TO FIND THE FRESH EVIDENCE THAT PROVES A CONVICTION IS UNSAFE OR A SENTENCE IS UNFAIR
Their investigation methodology is based on that deployed in high stakes death penalty cases in the US, and includes closely analysing the existing case materials using cutting edge software, demanding access to new documents, interviewing witnesses, visiting to key locations, and working with pro bono experts to find the evidence needed to overturn wrongful convictions and unfair sentences.
They value results over throughput, and so work on behalf of a small number of people to ensure the quality of their work. This is the ideal placement for those seeking a career in Criminal or Public Law.
For further information please see the Appeal website.