Cuts to the provision of civil legal aid in the UK over recent years have left many of the poorest and most vulnerable in society without access to legal advice and representation. Experiencing the complex reality of legal problems teaches students studying law a range of skills they would not gain in the lecture theatre and enhances their legal education.
Students in The Dickson Poon School of Law are helping to make justice a reality for the many rather than the few at the same time as gaining invaluable practical legal experience during their studies at King’s.
The student Pro Bono Society at King’s serves the public through fundraising and voluntary projects and offers students opportunities to engage in meaningful work with communities whilst enhancing their own CVs. Activities include providing training to other students in mediation, outreach to students from disadvantaged backgrounds interested in studying law and mentoring school students. The Society won the award for Best Pro Bono Activities at the LawCareers.net Student Society Awards earlier this year.
Joanne Harper, President of the Pro Bono Society (2016-2017) said: ’The society committee sincerely takes to heart students’ request for opportunities to engage with leading practitioners in non-commercial fields, to improve their practical and professional skills, and to make a real impact in the wider community.’
The School has also set up the King’s Legal Clinic, a free service offering legal advice to the public from law students at King’s College London. Under the supervision of a qualified lawyer, students working at the King’s Legal Clinic will interview clients, analyse their problem, research the issues and send them a written letter of advice. Because the students are being supervised throughout by a qualified lawyer, clients can be assured that the advice they receive will be to the same standard as if they had paid for that advice. Students studying law at King’s can undertake work at the Legal Clinic for credit as part of their degree course (from September 2017) or as an extra-curricular activity.
Ethos of service
The launch of the Legal Clinic demonstrates our determination to provide our students with the very best legal education. But just as importantly, it reflects the ethos of service to the wider community which underpins the work of King’s College London.
Professor Gillian Douglas, Executive Dean of The Dickson Poon School of Law
Find out more about what the King’s Legal Clinic can offer and how to get in touch.