Essex Law Clinic

Volunteer as a student

So you're interested in pro bono work? Great choice. Future you will thank you for it.

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Essex Law Clinic students

Use your growing legal skills to improve the lives of your local community

In the next three years or so, you're going to be entering the graduate jobs market. With the rapidly evolving legal landscape, can you predict which area of law you will want to work in right now? 

As a volunteer in the Essex Law Clinic, you'll be responsible for delivering free legal advice to vulnerable members of the community. This unique experience will give you the opportunity to gain real-life experience working on legal cases and develop your skills and interests in various areas of law, for example, housing, immigration, family, or employment law.

This exciting opportunity will mean you'll also be working alongside organisations delivering outreach projects, whilst gaining expert training and mentorship from lawyers and practitioners outside of your normal uni lectures. You'll also learn how the law actually operates in practice, and be able to demonstrate genuine practical legal experience when it matters most.

By becoming an important part of our Clinic, you'll be putting yourself in the best possible position for when it's time to hand in your library card, throw up your graduation cap, and take your next steps into your future.

Got your attention? Explore how it works, or take a look at the projects our students are working on this year.

 

Learn more about volunteering
Why you should volunteer
  • Affect the lives of vulnerable people across Essex in need of your help
  • Explore working in different areas of law and discover what you enjoy the most
  • Prepare your CV to stand out in a competitive graduate jobs market 

Obtaining the skills and knowledge you need, right on campus

Where is the Clinic based?

The Essex Law Clinic is based in the Essex Law School on our Colchester Campus. The Law Clinic also has a number of partnerships with local organisations around Essex, so you may be working on cases at one of our various outreach clinics in the community.

Will I get training?

We get it, you're probably wondering whether you'd be ready to take on real-life clients so early on in your law degree. Don't worry, we know it can seem daunting. Volunteering puts you at the cutting edge of legal practice, so giving you the ultimate training and education that will prepare you for working with real-life clients is our top priority from the minute you join the Law Clinic.

The clinic is a completely safe space where you're encouraged to ask questions, and where you'll be supported by experienced legal practitioners. You'll often work in pairs, and your interviews, client meetings, and any advice given will be overseen by clinic staff, or practicing lawyers.

Interested in management?

The Clinic is currently run by a Management Committee which includes two or three appointed student directors. Students also play a role in management in the form of four firm managers. Other students also help with various clinic activities, such as developing clinic policy, organising training, publicity, communications, and social events. So, if you're interested in a future in management and developing your personal skills, there are many exciting opportunities you can take advantage of.

What our
students are saying

“Working in clinic is a very valuable experience that helped me to see that advising clients is what I would like to pursue in the future.”
“This experience opened my eyes. I have not been familiar with these sorts of issues before, seeing it first-hand I was able to relate”.
“Apart from the academic and skill development aspects, the Clinic really created a student community around it.”
“Thank you to all of the students and staff who make the Law Clinic possible, I’m genuinely proud to be a part of it."
"I can’t wait to engage more with the local community next year and help to benefit those who need it most.”
View of the library from the lake
three students walking up a tree covered path on a sunny day
University of Essex lakes in the snow
University of Essex lakes in the snow

How do you join the Essex Law Clinic? 

You can join the Law Clinic in your first year, and continue throughout your duration at Essex. Applications open in the summer for a few weeks during the start of term. 2022-23 applications are now closed but will reopen in the summer term for 2023-24 entry.

If you're in your second year, you can register for module LW250 Legal Advice Casework. If you register you'll be contacted with details about the application process to the Clinic. If you're applying through this method, the deadline for your application is usually slightly earlier, as it is required for registration at Essex.

Membership involves the following categories:

Bronze members:

  • Work on projects designed to serve the public through legal research, public legal education, and law reform
  • Develop their legal and transferable skills through these projects, casework training, and limited opportunities for actual casework

Silver members:

  • Trained to take on cases
  • Interview clients in pairs, overseen by Clinic staff or pro bono lawyers
  • Research legal issues and provide letters of advice to the clients
  • Occasionally engage in some forms of writing letters on behalf of clients

Gold and Platinum members:

  • Those who make an outstanding contribution to the Clinic through the quality and quantity of their case and project work
  • Qualify for certain opportunities such as interviewing on their own or attending conferences

For more information on how to apply or the application process, please email elawclinic@essex.ac.uk, and we'll be happy to help answer your questions.

 

 

headshot of Sam Howlett holding an award
Award-winning student shares her Clinic experience

Sam Howlett volunteered for three years throughout her law degree. She had a particular interest in family law and won the Best Contribution by an Individual for her exceptional pro bono work. In this article, she shares her experience of volunteering at the Essex Law Clinic.

Read the article
"I want to express just how much the Clinic has had an impact on me. My three years at the Clinic have enabled me to come out of my comfort zone, build my confidence, develop my leadership, and become a far better student (and person) for it. It has been an amazing three years and the Clinic has been responsible for many of my highlights. From working on the projects, such as the Red Cross Project, to trialing the virtual clinic at the start of the COVID outbreak. It has all been brilliant and I cannot think of a single low point."
Essex Law Clinic Student LLB LAW, 2019-2022
Essex Law Clinic students
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