Joining Essex Law Clinic

I joined the Law Clinic in my first year of university, filling out the application before I even started my degree. Starting off in the clinic as a bronze member I got to choose to join the mediation project where I would attend weekly workshops to learn how to become a mediator. It was a great opportunity to see another side of law that it not so commonly advertised as a typical job route. As the weeks progressed, I was able to learn more and more about the role as we completed practice mediation sessions working with follow students who acted as our clients. During the second half of the year, we had the opportunity to work alongside real organisations in Colchester and provide them with mediation resources which we had created to give to individuals who were seeking their services. It was great to know that the work we were doing was going to have an impact on real people.

Starting case work

Becoming a silver member, I moved into one of the Firms in the clinic and began case work. After the initial boot camp training I was slightly afraid about having to work with real clients due to the pressure of wanting to give them the best advice to improve their situation – that and all the hidden issues that I was expecting them to have after the extreme scenarios that we had dealt with in training. This was not at all the situation with my first case in fact being of such urgency that the client called us from their car for the privacy as supervisor both conducted the interview and advised them on the spot to ensure they got the correct the advice they needed. It was a really eye opening situation that showed to me how important the work of the clinic is, especially with the ever-increasing cuts to legal aid. On the other end of the spectrum, as a second year I also had the opportunity to work on a case that had been written about in BBC news and was of high profile to people in lived in the area. It was an interesting situation with an area of law that wasn’t something that we learnt about in out studies but was important, nonetheless.

Putting my learning into practice

Entering my third year of university I continued working as a silver member however often found myself as the more senior student advisor on the case working with second years who had just completed their training. This was a step up for me because it meant that I frequently took on the role of interviewing the client rather than taking notes. My first case of the year was simultaneously my first and only case in person with the client travelling to the clinic. This was an exciting and stressful experience making me understand what it would be like to take on professional clients as a lawyer and made me feel more connected to the client and the result of their case. Working in the clinic in my third year I was often able to put the law that I was learning into my cases as I took on several employment law cases whist studying it as a module, this was especially beneficial as the module lecturers were also my case supervisors so I could explain how I would advise the client based on what I had learnt.

Overall, I would recommend working in the Essex Law Clinic to everyone because it is a fantastic opportunity to gain legal work experience and expand on your legal knowledge whilst simultaneously giving back to the local community. I am very grateful to have had to opportunity to volunteer in the clinic for all three of my years at university.

Claire Campion


LLB Law student

Claire looking into camera