Each year the LawIRL staff source an interesting and varied range of placement opportunities for law students to develop their skills at each stage in their studies.
From streetlaw or public legal education activities where students work with charities to deliver training and mentoring to young people on legal topics, to opportunities where students are trained to advise clients, and work under the supervision of qualified lawyers.
There is something for everyone and we are always open to suggestions! The following opportunities provide a flavour of the placements we usually offer to students, although these are subject to change.
Current students can access the LawIRL Moodle page and receive our monthly newsletters advertising our exciting programme of activities throughout the 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 Amicus. Working on death penalty cases under the supervision of aa experienced lawyer.
Amicus is a small charity that helps provide representation for those facing the death penalty in the United States. Amicus believe the death penalty is disproportionately imposed on the most vulnerable in society, violating their right to due process and equal justice before the law.
Amicus aim to provide better access to justice and to raise awareness of potential abuses of defendants' rights. They are not a campaigning organisation, rather they believe they can make the greatest difference through frontline work.
For further information see the website. Expressions of interest are sent out in the Summer before the course starts and students are interviewed at the start of term.
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.
City Community Legal Advice Centre
City University’s own Community Legal Advice Centre (CityCLAC) provides members of the public with FREE legal advice on a range of legal issues including:
- Civil litigation
- Small business
- Contractual disputes
- Small claims
- Personal Injury
- Environmental law
It is a service run by City Law School, where all City Law students can undertake a variety of roles from observing an advice session, taking notes in client interviews, or drafting attendance notes and advice letters. They also interview clients, conduct legal research, provide referrals and run the helpline taking details from members of the public over the phone. Opportunities are advertised on the Moodle page. If you are a current student please scan the QR code for more information.
If you are a client who would like to request legal advice please see our City Community Legal Advice Centre page for more details and fill in our online enquiry form. You can also email [email protected] or call our phone line 0207 040 5414 which is open 10-12pm and 2-4pm Monday to Thursday. You can leave a message 24 hours a day. We try to get back to clients within 48 hours depending on when you contact us.
Environmental Law Foundation
City is proud to partner with the Environmental Law Foundation to provide legal advice and also policy research.
In the recent past our students have produced a policy document regarding Climate Change with 9 other Universities across the UK, and a largescale report on the climate emergency declaration, auditing all the London Boroughs.
City University Environmental Law Clinic is supervised by Dr Paul Stookes. Paul Stookes is a consultant solicitor-advocate at a specialist environmental law firm, He also works part-time for UKELA (UK Environmental Law Association).
In collaboration with the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), City students will guide and support you through the stages of your environmental issue- free of charge. Students work under supervision in the provision of legal advice and policy research. The placements is open to students with an interest in and knowledge of Environmental Law. We also provide legal advice on environmental issues.
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 intend to volunteer with FRU for academic credit on the professional programme courses, or as an extra-curricular activity, you will need to register and pass the FRU test. Do not delay in registering as spaces are often highly competitive. City Law School partners with FRU in the provision of the clinical legal education modules on the post graduate BVS LLM, and has a close working relationship.
Pro Bono Community
Pro Bono Community is a registered charity which seeks to improve access to justice by providing specialist training in legal advice and social welfare law to lawyers, trainees and students and then placing them as volunteers at Law Centres and advice agencies.
Pro Bono Community run our 3rd Year LLB clinical option module. Students can undertake a taught course which culminates with a practical placement in real life. Students are asked to write a reflective journal as part of their assessment, in order to learn through doing. Students are usually placed in a not for profit agency such as a law centre or citizens advice, providing a great way to obtain experience in real life.
Volunteers trained by PBC have gone on to work at Law Centres and advice agencies across London. PBC expects volunteers to commit to a minimum of 13 days volunteering following their training although many will go on to extend their placements for much longer periods.
Law Centres and advice agencies estimate that each volunteer assists an average of at least two people per session which means that PBC-trained volunteers have provided free legal support and assistance to an estimated 31,000 people since the charity was established.
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 high profile 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 University of London 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.
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.
The project aims 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.
Schools Consent Project volunteer workshop facilitators are powerful communicators with a passion for empowering young people. They convey precise legal knowledge energetically, enthusiastically and accessibly.
Volunteers who deliver workshops must have been examined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Students studying the Graduate Diploma in Law, CILEx etc. or any other courses must have received their exam results prior to applying.
The Project ask that volunteers are prepared to commit to delivering an average of one workshop a month, and there is a lot of flexibility about when these take place to fit in with your studies.
Applicants will be asked to complete a phone interview, and to attend a half-day training session in person.
The travel expenses of workshop volunteers are covered by schools, and so all tickets and records of travel need to be retained for reimbursement.
To hear more about the project watch this YouTube video:
Company Insolvency Pro Bono Scheme
COIN provide free legal help for Litigants-in-Person (LiPs) appearing before the winding up court on Wednesdays. The Scheme operates from Consultation Room 17 in the High Court, Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London.
COIN 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
Litigants-in-Person can contact us via email with brief details of your enquiry. If your case is suitable, we will arrange a conference with a barrister via Zoom. Please submit an enquiry by completing the Company Insolvency Pro Bono Scheme enquiry form.
COIN is an award winning service which helps those who would otherwise not have access to representation. Our students are trained to provide general information about advice and procedures, and volunteer barrister provide free representation to clients on a rota.
Nature of Pro Bono Work
Barristers provide free legal advice and representation to the litigants in person. 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
Students will be asked to indicate their preference for a clinical project when they 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, there are a limited number of volunteers who can take part, and usually COIN recruit in two rounds (September and January).
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.
The School Exclusion Project
The Schools Exclusion Project is a City Law School project that provides free advocacy in term time, to help parents appeal against their child’s permanent exclusion. We partner with Matrix Chambers and 11KBW Chambers to provide representation in schools exclusions hearings.
The SEP specialise in disability discrimination and cases where the child has special educational needs. These children are at a much higher risk of being permanently excluded, and therefore require greater protection and a louder voice.
Why does the Project exist?
School exclusions are a major social problem. The first phase of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry into School Exclusions, published in April 2012 (“They Never Give Up On You”) highlighted widespread illegal practice by schools in relation to school exclusions, the glaring disparities in exclusion rates for children with different characteristics (Black Caribbean boys and children with disabilities are significantly over-represented) and the serious adverse impact of school exclusions on the opportunities of excluded children.
The Schools Exclusion Project provide families and children who have been excluded with the opportunity to overturn the decision to exclude. The Project represents parents of children who have been permanently excluded from maintained state schools, academies, and pupil referral units. Please get in touch with us if you are in doubt about whether the school is in the Project’s scope.
For information on how to obtain representation please email [email protected]
We recruit students from the GDL and Bar course to work in the project. The students receive training on the law. The places are advertised to students at City at the start of the first term. Spaces are competitively selected, as students have to provide a high level of commitment to the project, and knowledge of a relevant area, or transferable skills are desirable. Details are published on the LawIRL Moodle page at the start of term.
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 an article from 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.
To be eligible to apply to become a Vocalise mentor students must be either:
- a student studying the GDL, the Bar Course, or law as a final year undergraduate or masters student
- a current member of Gray’s Inn who has completed either the GDL or the Bar Course in the past year and not secured pupillage
Please note, you do not have to be a member of an Inn to apply for Vocalise, but if accepted, you must join an Inn in order to participate. Vocalise cannot send you into prisons to teach unless you are member of an Inn.
Please apply directly to Vocalise. They usually recruit mentors at the beginning of October each year.
City University Volunteering
One of the great advantages of studying at The City Law School is the opportunity to have access to its 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.
You can also contact staff with any enquiries on [email protected].