Leicester Pro Bono group shortlisted for national award

Law School recognised as making one of the best contributions in the country in the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2019

Another successful year of Pro Bono activity has culminated in a shortlisting for the national LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2019. These awards celebrate the contributions of law students and law schools across the country providing the best pro bono activities across five different categories. Leicester Law School has been shortlisted in the Best Contribution by a Law School category alongside six other universities.

The student led Pro Bono activity at Leicester is now supported by our in-house solicitor and Pro Bono Manager, Laura Bee, and administrator, Natalie Howden. Around 300 students participate in nine different projects, with the aim of supporting the local community by voluntarily applying their legal knowledge to a range of initiatives. Students work alongside local legal professionals, academic staff and charities who provide guidance and training across the different projects.

Developments this year, include the expansion of our Legal Advice Clinic to two sites which has doubled the number of available appointments, as well as advice in new areas of law. The clinic has assisted 57 clients since September 2018 and appeared on BBC Radio Leicester to raise awareness of the service. Feedback has been extremely positive, with one client commenting, “Absolutely brilliant! All of my questions were answered and a comprehensive plan was put together. The advice I received was thorough and well structured. I can’t recommend this service enough!”

The Litigants in Person project at Leicester County Court has increased its membership and now provides a daily service, with students assisting members of the public who are using the courts but cannot afford legal representation. As part of the Immigration and Asylum project, students have helped more than 20 local asylum seekers with applications for refugee status. The Amicus project has started to conduct research to assist caseworkers who provide access to justice for US death row prisoners. Fund raising activities by the Pro Bono Society have included clothing drives, bake sales and the ‘Leicester Legal Walk’ which raised £540, beating our target to raise funds for local free advice centres.

Head of Leicester Law School, Professor Francois du Bois commented that “We are very proud of the extremely high level of student engagement in our pro bono activity. We recognize that by nurturing this and by offering more pro bono opportunities for students, we can help to foster in our students a commitment to pro bono work which may last throughout their careers.”

On receiving the nomination, Chief Officer of the Pro Bono Society, student Claire Collins, said that this was a “reflection of the great developments we have had in our Pro Bono work this year and all of the hard work and commitment by students involved in our projects.”

The winner of the Best Contribution by a Law School award will be announced in the awards ceremony at the House of Commons on Wednesday 1 May 2019.

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