On 22nd April, the LawWorks Clinics Team facilitated a discussion with almost 50 coordinators from law firms, law schools, and advice agencies across England and Wales. The session provided coordinators with the opportunity to discuss challenges, share their experiences and learn about tools, including our guidance to support moving to an online/remote service, and resources to help them deliver pro bono services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
James Sandbach, LawWorks Director of Policy, and Martha de la Roche, Network Development Manager for the Litigant in Person Network, provided an update from a roundtable that LawWorks has been facilitating with the wider advice sector. The roundtable is attended by a range of legal and access to justice organisations, and has been established to address issues, challenges and legal needs raised by the crisis. More about the roundtable and notes from the meetings are available on the LawWorks website.
Martha also shared information about subgroups of the roundtable and other helpful resources:
- To keep up to date on the work of the Legal and Advice Sector Forum you can join the Litigant in Person network and to view the updates, including a link to the COVID-19 response resource list.
- The Innovation Working Group is collating a list of tools to support remote service delivery. For further details and to find out how to contribute to their work, see this Google Document.
- The Tools and Technologies Subgroup has a discussion thread for you to add to the list of digital tools.
- Remote Working Materials and Resources
- Resources from the Mental Health Foundation and Mental Health at Work to support you, your colleagues and volunteers.
We would also recommend that you subscribe to the Litigant in Person Network fortnightly newsletter to be kept up to date with further resources.
Further useful information shared during the discussion:
- Coordinators briefly shared the different resources and systems they use to make the running of their services go smoothly. These included Intralinks, CLIO, Advice Pro and Trello.
- Some clinics indicated that most of their clients do everything via phone. They therefore use WhatsApp so that clients can send documents securely, which has proven to be particularly important when requesting bundles for welfare benefits.
- Clinics have also put best practice in place requesting feedback from clients in order to adjust their remote services according. This has been done through different pathways including via phone, text message and email.
- Collecting client data and demography at present is now being done by some clinics via phone and indicated it is important to have this data for funding applications.
- Several coordinators have mentioned a drop in client queries, we therefore encourage clinics to consider appropriate advertising to ensure clients are aware the clinic is still operative and of how they can access the service under current circumstances. A stark increase in queries is anticipated across the Network.
A summary of the March InfoExchange is also available, which explored ways that clinics are responding and shared details about three models of remote clinics.