August 2009
The Clinics Team Kaplan Legal Advice Centre Award Winners Clinics Round Table Joint National Pro Bono Conference 2009
New clinic in Manchester New clinic launched in Orpington
Volunteers sought for Liberty’s Advice Line

Editorial
I hope you have all been enjoying the rather tempremental British summer we have been experiencing. If you have managed to take advantage of the rare glimpses of glorious sunshine then hopefully this latest addition of the Clinics Newsletter will top it off nicely and, if not, hopefully it will brighten your day sufficiently to make up for it!

Since our last newsletter in April much has happened. Three new clinics have opened with the assistance of LawWorks and we have welcomed one existing clinic to the LawWorks Clinics network. We also held another successful Clinics Round Table meeting at the beginning of July - details of which can be found further on.

This issue of the newsletter contains lots of news and information, which we hope you will find useful. If you have something that you would like featured in our next newsletter then please contact Sarah.

The LawWorks Clinics Team

New Clinic Launches

July 2009:

  • Kaplan Legal Advice Centre, London

August 2009

  • Breakthrough UK Law Clinic, Manchester (with Addleshaw Goddard and Eversheds)
  • CWJ Advice Clinic, Orpington (with Clarkson Wright & Jakes LLP)

We are also delighted to welcome on board a new LawWorks Member Clinic Island Advice in London (with Clifford Chance)


The LawWorks Clinics Team

sarah
martin
richard
Sarah Cox
sarah.cox@lawworks.org.uk

020-7090-7361
Clinics & Students Project Officer
Martin Curtis
martin.curtis@lawworks.org.uk
020-7090-7358
Head of Projects II
Project Manager for Students & Law Schools
Richard Harrison
richard.harrison@lawworks.org.uk
020-7090-7356
Project Manager for Clinics
     

The featured Clinic – Kaplan Legal Advice Centre, London


In this issue of the Clinics newsletter, we break the mould and profile a brand new Clinic - the Kaplan Legal Advice Centre which was launched in late July by Kaplan Law School, based near London Bridge. Richard and Sarah caught up with Bob Ashcroft, Kaplan Law School’s Pro Bono Coordinator.

Q In what way do you assist at the Clinic?
A I co-ordinate all the appointments, students and volunteer solicitors and try to ensure that the clinic runs smoothly.

Q How long has your Clinic been running?
A Our Clinic opened its doors on the 30th July this year.

Q How many advisors attend each Clinic?
A At the moment we have 4 advisors attending per week.

Q Where do your advisors come from?
A Our advisors come from various London firms

Q When does your Clinic run?
A We run the Clinic every Thursday evening.

Q How do clients access the Clinic?
A Our clients contact us directly by phone and email and we also receive referrals from other advice centres.

Q Roughly how many clients do you see at each session?
A We try to deal with 8 clients per week.

Q What areas of law do you advise on?
A We are able to provide advice for most queries with the exception of asylum and immigration.

Q What are your most common queries?
A At the moment the most common enquiries relate to employment and debt

Q What level of advice/assistance do you provide at the Clinic?
A We are able to offer initial advice and also take on case work. We are also able to be representatives at employment tribunals.

Q Have you had any problems along the way, and if so, how have you resolved them?
A Our biggest obstacle was the short timescale we set ourselves. We opened our doors for appointments 3 months after deciding to open a clinic. It involved a lot of telephone calls and paperwork!

Q Any advice for dealing with clients you suspect may be able to pay for advice?
A This is always tricky, as it is hard to verify any information that the client gives you about their financial situation. We are going to introduce a means form to try and help us determine if they can afford to pay for advice.

Q If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting a Clinic, what would it be?
A Don’t try and open it in 3 months – you will get grey hairs!

Q How do you advertise your Clinic?
A. We have flyers and posters in the local community and we will also be advertising in the local press.

Q How do you keep your volunteers committed and enthusiastic?
A Make it easy and enjoyable for them.

Your top tip?
Always treat your clients with respect and understanding and make sure you have a strong cup of tea in your hand!

Anything else you would like to add?
A big thank you to Richard, Martin and Sarah at LawWorks – it was a hard task getting the clinic operational in 3 months, it would have been impossible without them!

The Kaplan Legal Advice Centre leaflet is available to download here.


Award Winners
The LawWorks Clinics team were delighted to see the pro bono commitments of individuals and organisations involved in several LawWorks Member Clinics, acknowledged at LawWorks’ Annual Awards Ball which was held on 11 June at Inner Temple in London.

In particular, Taylor Wessing scooped the Best Contribution by a Law Firm Award – a major part of their pro bono work with LawWorks being staffing the weekly evening advice clinic at Blackfriars Settlement.

Tina Buchan, a secretary at Nabarro, picked up the Best Contribution by an Individual Award. Tina plays a key role in helping to organise the firm’s weekly evening advice clinic at St Luke’s Community Centre in Islington, which is run in partnership with the advice charity Islington People’s Rights and has the support for a team of students from Kaplan Law School.

Norfolk Community Law Service won the Best Contribution by a Regional Organisation Award for the NCLS Free Legal Advice Rota – a twice weekly lunchtime pro bono session staffed by local solicitors from private practice.

BPP Law School, Apex Trust and the Employment Lawyers Association, picked up the Best Contribution by a Partnership Award for the APEAL and ELTAL schemes which provide telephone advice by way of a callback, to people with employment law queries.

Congratulations again to all!

The Award winners with Law Society President, Paul Marsh.
Tina Buchan
Taylor Wessing
Norfolk Community Law Service
BPP Law School

REMINDER: The closing date for the receipt for nominations for the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division Pro Bono Awards 2009 is 11 September 2009. These Awards, now in their 11th year, provide an opportunity to give public recognition to the invaluable pro bono work undertaken by students, trainee solicitors and junior solicitors. Further details are available on the Law Society’s website.



LawWorks Member Clinics Round Table
LawWorks Successfully held its fifth Member Clinics Round Table meeting on Tuesday 7 July. The meeting was kindly hosted by Mayer Brown in their London office and attendance was strong and varied with Clinics represented from as far away as Strathclyde.

Some important things were raised at the meeting, notes of which can be found here.

Joint National Pro Bono Conference 2009
Registration opening soon...

9 November @ Friends House, Euston, London
10 November @ Civil Justice Centre, Manchester

For more information visit www.probonouk.net or email Vicky O'Keeffe



New clinic launched in Orpington
The Clinics team has assisted Clarkson Wright & Jakes LLP, (“CWJ”) establish a monthly legal advice clinic to give those who are financially disadvantaged access to legal services. The Clinic is run by the firm’s trainees who were instrumental in its formation. It will allow trainees to develop their legal skills whilst being able to give something back to the community.

The CWJ Advice Clinic, which opened its doors in early August, is held on the first Thursday of the month by appointment only. Trainees, under supervision of the firm’s solicitors, will provide advice on landlord and tenant matters, employment, family, debt recovery and bankruptcy and consumer matters. The Clinic is held at the firm’s offices in the centre of Orpington, Kent. To request an appointment, individuals should call 01689 887887 and quote “CWJ Advice Clinic”.


Volunteers sought for Liberty’s Advice Line
Liberty has asked us to help publicise their current volunteering opportunities for individual solicitors on their Advice line (a pro bono project we support through the LawWorks Clinics project). Details of the pro bono opportunity can be found below. Further information about Liberty can be found on their website.

This opportunity is for practising solicitors who individually sign up to a rota managed by Liberty.

Details
Liberty operates a telephone advice lines for members of the public to call in order to obtain advice and information about their human rights.

The Liberty Public Advice line (also known as the ‘first tier’ advice line, as it is for members of the public) runs every Monday and Thursday evening from 6:30pm to 8:30pm in Liberty’s offices on Tabard Street (near Borough tube station). The advice line is staffed by volunteers. This volunteering opportunity is available to qualified barristers, pupils and solicitors with a current practicing certificate. (There is also a session which runs on Wednesdays from 12.30 to 2.30pm staffed by trainee solicitors seconded to Liberty but this is not open to external volunteers).

In the middle of every month (around the 15th) the responsible Liberty staff member emails all ‘signed up’ volunteers asking if they are available for one evening (either a Monday or a Thursday) in the following month. If they are available they email back specifying which evening they would like. If they are not available for that month they simply do not email back. It is also possible to set up a regular ‘slot’ whereby the volunteer comes the same date every month. In this way, the Adviceline is a very flexible commitment for which to volunteer.

The volunteers are required to turn up to their allocated session and handle some calls. A log is made of each call, recording a small amount of information. The session lasts for two hours and there will be a Liberty staff member supervising and available to assist with any difficult calls. Volunteers will be provided with a training pack, quality control policy and will be expected to observe a session before volunteering.

For more information contact Liberty on 0207 403 3888.

 

New clinic in Manchester

Wednesday 5th August saw the launch of the pilot phase of the Breakthrough UK Law Clinic, a new fortnightly pro bono advice session in East Manchester which is being run by the not for profit social enterprise Breakthrough UK, in partnership with Addleshaw Goddard and Eversheds.

The Breakthrough UK Law Clinic has been setup to provide free legal advice and assistance to disabled people across Greater Manchester as well as the local community in Ardwick. Advice is available in a variety of areas including employment, consumer and contractual matters, housing and debt.

Elaine Astley, Self Advocacy and Information Worker at Breakthrough UK said:

Breakthrough UK’s Independent Employment Advocacy Centre (IEAC) has, for the last five years, supported hundreds of disabled people throughout Greater Manchester to speak up, secure their employment rights and tackle barriers to and within employment. Many of the people the IEAC team work with require additional legal advice to enable them to move forward and overcome the obstacles they face at work and in their daily lives. We do not provide this advice ourselves, and it can be a struggle to find accessible, timely and affordable sources of legal advice for our service users. The new clinic will ensure that disabled people we are in contact with can obtain professional initial advice at an early stage, and in a barrier free environment. It will additionally be of wider benefit to our local community here in Ardwick, who will also be able to access this excellent source of free legal advice on their doorsteps. We are very grateful to Addleshaw Goddard and Eversheds for their support.

The Law Clinic operates every second Wednesday between 6-8pm at Breakthrough UK, Business Employment Venture Centre, Aked Close, Ardwick, Manchester M12 4AN. Further information about the Clinic can be found on Breakthrough UK’s website.

   
   

LawWorks is the operating name of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group
Registered charity number 1064274