Law schools and student pro bono

LawWorks encourages the widespread involvement of law schools and their students in pro bono activity. We believe strongly in the importance of an enduring pro bono culture amongst law students and law schools; we see it as an integral way of instilling the ethos of pro bono in the next generation of lawyers.

LawWorks works closely with many law schools around the country to help set up and support pro bono legal advice clinics.

We also work together with our academic partners to monitor the activities that are organised in law schools around the country. See the LawWorks Law School Pro Bono and Clinic Report 2020.

Our latest 2020 report was undertaken with the Clinical Legal Education Organisation (CLEO) to reflect developments since our last published report, for example the proposed Solicitor's Qualifying Exam (SQE), the widespread adoption of LegalTech in law schools, and the increasing contribution that the clinical legal education movement makes to access to justice (see our paper to the 2019 ENCLE Conference.) 

We also recognise the valuable contribution law students make to pro bono through the annual LawWorks & Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate law student and you would like to participate in pro bono work then we suggest that you first contact your law school to see if they provide any opportunities for students.

Benefits of Student Pro Bono:  

  • Develop practical legal skills such as interviewing clients and drafting letters of legal advice
  • Develop the ability to recognise and research real legal queries for real clients
  • Make a valuable contribution to your local area 
  • Develop links to legal professionals, firms and agencies
  • Explore practice in new areas of law
  • Add value to your training contract and pupilage applications

We encourage students to explore the range of student pro bono activities taking place at their law school:

Law School Legal Advice Clinic: 

Pro bono advice clinics present a fantastic opportunity for students to get real life experience working on client cases. Clinics also provide a vital service for those who cannot otherwise afford to pay for legal assistance or access legal aid, allowing them to seek initial legal advice or further ongoing assistance about problems that might otherwise escalate, causing debt or a threat to housing or employment.

LawWorks has many years of experience in helping to set up legal advice clinics and we are happy to assist any law school that wishes to embark on such a project. We provide consultancy and advice in order to establish and support free legal advice sessions carried out by volunteer lawyers and students. For further information about getting involved with LawWorks Clinics please see here.

Student induction in Clinics

LawWorks have developed some virtual induction and training resources for law student clinic volunteers. Topics overed include client confidentility, GDPR, professionalism, commercial awareness, working with vulnerable clients and student wellbeing. 

These resources are intended to give students a brief overview and introduction, see our student induction page.   

Public Legal Education and Streetlaw

The law school will first make links with local community groups, schools, prisons etc. and ask them what areas of law they or the community might need to know more about. The students then research the topic, ascertain the law applicable to the area, and then prepare interactive workshops, which they will deliver to the group. 

LawWorks supports Public Legal Education through out work with the Solicitor General's office to produce a vision statement for PLE, and in our capacity as secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Public Legal Education and Pro Bono.

External Student Placements

The law school will make arrangements with an agency or advice service to enable students to participate in pro bono in the external organisation. This can be an alternative for the law school setting up a pro bono activity internally.

Pro Bono Groups or Societies

Students without access to pro bono activities in their law school, may also consider forming their own pro bono group or society to undertake pro bono projects.

Miscarriage of Justice

A growing number of universities around the UK are taking on criminal cases, with a view to helping victims of alleged miscarriages of justice.

Court and Tribunal Representation

The Free Representation Unit (FRU) provides a great opportunity for students to acquire advocacy experience. FRU volunteers help with case preparation and advocacy in tribunal cases. FRU trains volunteer law students in the skills required to give confident and competent support for the rights of others under the supervision of caseworkers.

Internships and volunteering with Legal Charities

Legal and pro bono organisations such as LawWorks, Advocate (the new name for the Bar Pro Bono Unit), Access to Justice Foundation and the London Legal Support Trust are often looking for interns to support the administration of their organisations.