11 March 2013

Free legal advice service launches for local businesses

The University of Essex is trialling a pro bono business law advice service next month providing the local business community with legal advice in collaboration with experts in commercial law BTMK Solicitors.

The Business Legal Advice Clinic in Southend will also give current Essex students, who will help provide professional advice on all matters of business law, valuable work experience. The service is due to formally launch in October but is looking to attract local businesses to trial sessions on 4 April 2013.

Dr Karen Hulme, of Essex’s School of Law, explained: “This service will provide the local business community in and around Southend with access to free, professional legal advice which will be especially valuable to small and family-run businesses. We hope they will come forward to take part in the trial so that we can ensure the service we launch in October is tailor-made to their needs.”

Current students from the School of Law and Essex Business School will work with BTMK solicitors to give initial advice on a range of issues, such as employment law, contracts, and negligence, as well as on appropriate business structures and aspects to be considered when starting up a business. The service will not provide representation should legal proceedings be necessary but clients will be referred to other relevant legal services.

Dr Hulme explained what the students will gain from the experience: “The students will work in teams of two, alongside a solicitor. They will be required to act on the meeting which will mean understanding the advice that has been given, summarising it and explaining it to the client in an easily accessible way. These are very valuable skills that will help make them more employable when they graduate and are seeking a training contract.”

Nitin Khandhia, a BTMK partner added: “BTMK are delighted to be involved in a project of this nature in alliance with the University of Essex. In these trying economic times, the fact that entrepreneurs are still willing to start their own businesses means that they deserve all of the help and assistance that they can get. We’re proud to be a part of that.”

Advice sessions will take place at the University’s Southend Campus on an appointment basis. If you would like to take part in the trial and receive free legal advice for your business, contact: Dr Karen Hulme from the School of Law, e-mail: klhulm@essex.ac.uk or telephone: 01206 872139.

The Business Legal Advice Centre is run in partnership between BTMK Solicitors, the School of Law, and the Students’ Union Advice Centre.


Notes to editors

1. For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529 or e-mail: comms@essex.ac.uk.

2. BTMK is a Southend-based commercial and personal law firm specialising in company and business law, personal legal services, and personal injury claims. For further information see: www.btmk.co.uk/.

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