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? 

There are many areas of your law you can practice in once you graduate, and volunteering in the Essex Law Clinic will give you the chance to explore some of these. You'll get to work on real-life cases and be responsible for delivering free legal advice to vulnerable members of the community. This unique experience will give you the opportunity to gain valuable practical 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.

You can explore how it works, and take a look at the projects our students worked on in 2022/23.

If you want to volunteer in the Clinic for 2023/24, applications are now open.


Find out how to apply for 2023/24 

How to apply for 2023-24

Bronze applications

Who can apply?

Applications for Bronze membership to the Law Clinic are open to first and second-year students

When is the application deadline?

Applications are now open and the deadline is 9am on 23 October 2023. (Early applications are viewed favourably).

When will you be in contact?

You will be notified about your application by 30 October 2023.

Is there an induction?

Yes, there is a mandatory induction which you must be available for, and this will be held on Wednesday 1 November in the afternoon. (All Clinic activities, including training sessions and project meetings take place on Wednesday afternoons, therefore in order to participate in the Law Clinic, you're expected to be available on Wednesdays.

How do I apply?

To become a bronze member of the Clinic, please fill out our application form.

Apply now 

LW250 module applications (second-year students only)

What is the LW250 module?

In addition to applying to join the Law Clinic as a volunteer, if you're in your second year you can register to take LW250 – Legal Advice Casework module. This module will give you what the legal profession refers to as a 'clinical legal education'. This module will be extremely valuable to your learning experience and help you build a strong CV for life after graduation.

Do I need to apply to the Clinic to take this module?

Yes, you'll need to apply to join the Law Clinic. If you're not already a member, we will contact you with details on how to apply once you have registered for the LW250 module. Please note that both applications for membership to the Clinic and for selecting LW250 on eNROL have the same deadline of 15 September 2023, so please select your module as soon as possible to give yourself enough time to apply to the Clinic as well.

What if I'm already a member of the Clinic but I want to take this module?

If you are already a member of the Law Clinic, you do not need to reapply to join the Clinic. If you'd like to take the module, you will need to select the module on eNROL by 15 September 2023.

Who can apply?

This module is open to second-year students. Please note there are limited places on this module.

When is the application deadline?

  • If you are already a member of the Clinic, you will need to select the module LW250 on eNROL by 15 September 2023.

  • If you are not currently a member of the Clinic, this is a requirement to take the module. You will need to select the module LW250 on eNROL by 15 September 2023. We will then contact you with details on how to apply to the Clinic once you have selected the module on eNROL, but please note the application deadline for you to apply to be a member of the Clinic is also 15 September 2023 so make sure you leave enough time to do this by selecting your module on eNROL as soon as possible.

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.

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
  • Engage in some forms of writing letters on behalf of clients

Gold and Platinum members:

  • This is a membership for 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, 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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