The City Law School’s new service is aimed at widening access to justice and the legal profession.
The City Law School has a long history of involvement with pro bono activities dating back to when the School was based at Gray’s Inn Place. Pro Bono Publico is a Latin term which means “for the public good”.
In plain English, it translates as the contemporary term “Law IRL.” The City Law School has recently appointed two new staff to lead the pro bono service: solicitor Sally Gill, the Director of the service, and Ian Shaw, its Coordinator.
They will provide students with the opportunity to experience the law beyond the classroom while widening access to justice and the legal profession by permitting them to gain experience in the law through the following:
- City Community Legal Advice Centre (CityCLAC)
- Legal Work Placements
- Court Visits
- Mock trials
By undertaking these activities, students will enhance their CVs and gain valuable skills to take into their future legal career. The experiences will help develop competencies for entry into the legal profession or graduate employment.
There are a wide range of activities on offer, open to students at each stage of their studies. This ‘ladder’ of opportunities will develop the experience needed to improve employability and effectively prepare students to start building a career in the law and widen access to the profession at the same time.
Each year the School strives to develop new relationships with law firms and local community centres. The City Law School’s network of not-for-profit partner organisations are places where students can volunteer and gain valuable, transferable skills.
Law firms volunteer in the CityCLAC together with the School’s teaching staff, and advise on areas of law from small business, employment, family, housing, civil litigation and consumers. Student Advisers are also trained to assist the lawyers in the provision of free legal advice.
The School’s clients are members of the public from the local community and further afield. As the service is delivered virtually, the School is in a position to help clients based in England and Wales.
Unfortunately, the service cannot advise staff or students, due to the way solicitors work. Details of the service are available on webpages, and anyone can refer clients to use the service by sharing the online enquiry form. All clinical legal education activities adhere to the Pro Bono Protocol which was developed by the Attorney General's Pro Bono Coordinating Committee, together with the professional bodies.
Sally Gill, Director of City Community Legal Advice Centre and a founding member of the LawIRL, said:
“We encourage all of our students to reflect on their journey at City, so as to assess their growth and development. By reflecting on their experience, students are able to better understand where they need to improve or gain experience as an individual. The process of self-reflection helps develop resilience and self-awareness. It also helps law students translate their experience into the competencies employers ask students to demonstrate on job applications and interviews. Reflective learning is an essential skill for lawyers as they are responsible for maintaining their own competence. The service brings together everyone involved under a common purpose: Widening access to justice and the legal profession”.
Welcoming LawIRL and the City Community Legal Advice Centre, Professor Richard Ashcroft, Interim Executive Dean of The City Law School, said:
“I am very proud of the City Law School’s contributions to pro bono activities in law. The launch of LawIRL and our Community Legal Advice Centre will allow a much wider range of students to get work experience, to see the law in action, and to provide a service to our community. This is all at the heart of our School’s social and educational mission. I welcome it most warmly, and invite all interested to get involved.”
For an informal chat with the Director of the service, Sally Gill, please email firstname.lastname@example.org