How we work
With the introduction of a Clinical Legal Studies Module, the Law Clinic needed to change how it worked. This meant ensuring there were enough cases for students to work on which, in turn, required an increase in the intensity and responsibility associated with their work loads. Whilst there was more demand for our services, it was critical that we became more selective. Only taking on cases that were within the competencies of supervisors and students ensured that student teams got the right support and were well equipped to do the best job possible for the people they advise.
Taking on cases
Enquiries come into the Clinic in one of two ways. As a referral from a partner organisation - or as a direct enquiry. The way we work with partners varies. For some we facilitate drop-in sessions, advising those that need it directly. For others we might work out of their offices, as an extension of their team. Alternatively we deal with their cases as we would a direct enquiry - setting up a client meeting, considering the best approach, reviewing the law and drafting a letter of advice. Follow-up is available if required.
Types of cases
The types of cases taken on are extremely varied, providing a great grounding for students as they gain a solid insight into law in practice. This year students provided advice on housing and family issues, employment and contract law, assault, problems with landlords and tracing relatives. We also work with referring partners including the Citizen's Advice Bureau and Personal Support Unit at the Bristol County Court.
We continue to have discussions with other potential partners to develop the range and scope of services provided by the Clinic. These are relatively long term initiatives but ones which will mean the Clinic continues to grow and progress. This in turn will mean the opportunities open to the students will also increase. If your organization would like to explore this, please contact us.
Working in firms
The Clinic is made up of law students. Currently they are generalist in terms of the types of cases taken on. This allows students to get involved in a case at the earliest opportunity, rather than 'waiting around' for something that fits with their specialist area. Moving forward, this is likely to change. Such is the demand from referral organisations, that at least some specialist teams are expected to be set up within the next academic year.