Training tomorrow's lawyers to tackle today's social justice and social mobility challenges
This presentation is co-created and co-presented with students who are helping the most vulnerable people in our city. The Legal Advice Centre (LAC), based in the School of Law, empowers supervised LLB Law students to:
- Provide free advice and representation worth hundreds of thousands of pounds every year to the growing number of people who do not qualify for Legal Aid but cannot afford to pay for a lawyer. Millions of people already fall into this “justice gap”.
- Develop the key legal and employability skills they need, particularly for those wishing to qualify as solicitors. The legal professions have always been competitive; now we are in the midst of a decline in social mobility along with the biggest change to legal education for decades. Steps to scrap paid training contracts and the introduction of the new Solicitors Qualifying Exams are intended to improve diversity in, and access to, the profession. However, practitioners and academics alike are concerned that these measures will in fact have the opposite effect.
We will explain how the School of Law uses a transformative, interdisciplinary curriculum to democratise legal knowledge, unpack and challenge the privilege and power dynamics inherent in the legal system, and educate students to become ethical, responsible professionals. We are helping colleagues across our faculty develop their clinical practice. The LAC is one of the only law clinics in the UK where every LLB Law student can gain valuable work experience across every year of their degree whilst helping the most disadvantaged in our community. By placing students at the heart of delivering the LAC’s services, we aim to level the playing field for people struggling to understand and enforce their rights, and for our students themselves as they embark on careers in an increasingly unequal and challenging environment.
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