What can you do...? Members of the legal profession

This page contains a list of volunteering opportunities for members of the legal profession and more recently a new resource from the Equality and Human Rights Commission aimed at advisors who give free legal advice.

Volunteering Opportunities

Members of the local legal profession are invited to view the 'wish list' below to see how they can contribute their talents and resources to Merseyside-based organisations who provide free legal advice.  Please make direct contact with the organisations below with any queries or offers of assistance.

 Liverpool John Moores University’s Legal Advice Centre (“LAC”) was established in April 2014 and is based in the School of Law, Brownlow Hill. The LAC’s clinics advise on family, employment, civil and wills & administration advice. It also runs drop in clinics in family and commercial law.  The LAC is hoping to pilot a housing drop-in clinic during this academic year and would welcome volunteers able to advise in this area.

 
Volunteers should be prepared to offer a total commitment of ten hours per academic year, to include assistance with training our students and supervising and advising the clinic itself, which will be based in the University and will run twice a month during an initial four month period.
 
The LAC is also experiencing a huge demand for family law and civil advice and is seeking anyone able to commit to advising at one or more of our two hour drop-in sessions, which take place at least once a month.
 
Contact:
Rachel Stalker, Legal Advice Centre Coordinator 
T: 0151 231 3530
 

Liverpool Law Clinic, University of Liverpool, is a well-established Clinic offering legal advice in various areas of law and a specialist asylum and statelessness project.  The Clinic has identified the following as particular needs at present:

1.    Volunteers to supervise in our free legal advice service. In particular we are looking for lawyers who can provide advice to small businesses, on family matters, community care and education law.  Ideally volunteers would be prepared to supervise twice a year.  This involves attending the clinic to give verbal advice to clients and checking and approving letters drafted by students following the client interview.   The time commitment involved is a minimum of four hours for a single case.  Volunteers need to be fully qualified.  We are looking in particular to extend our family law service, to set up a small business clinic, and to start a project that will involve advice on community care and special educational needs and disability (SEND).  
 

2.    Case referrals – can you take on a pro bono case once or twice a year?  Some of our clients using our general advice service very much need a legal representative and we cannot offer this ourselves; because of legal aid cuts there is nowhere to refer them for representation.
 

3.    Typing – our legal staff members are self-servicing and secretarial support would expand our capacity considerably. Can your firm offer to type about 20 letters maximum a week mostly for our immigration and asylum cases?
 

4.    Billing – our solicitors conduct around five judicial review cases per year, sometimes funded by legal aid, and these matters sometimes have a pro bono costs order or a legal aid order and require bills to be drawn up.
 

5.    Funding  – can you include us as a recipient of charitable funds raised by your firm or money that cannot be returned from your client account?  Our immigration and asylum work involves disbursements for interpreters, medical reports documenting torture and psychiatric conditions and expert reports on country conditions.  Our clients cannot obtain legal aid and many are totally destitute.  A single case can involve many hours of client appointments, and we estimate that the cost for interpretation if the client does not speak English is, on average, £400.  We have some funding for this from the North West Legal Support Trust and from the Access to Justice Foundation, but are always grateful for more support for this work.
 

Contact:
Jared Ficklin, Liverpool Law Clinic Director
T: 0151 795 0582
E: jficklin@liverpool.ac.uk

Opportunities at Liverpool and Chester Personal Support Unit
Liverpool PSU celebrated 10,000 client contacts back in July 2016 and we are continuing to grow, the needs of Litigants in Person (LIPs) are higher than ever since the severe restrictions in legal Aid have come about. 

PSU currently have 340 or so client contacts per month at Liverpool and we have now opened up in Chester on Wednesdays and Fridays, and this is generating a further  30 contacts a month.  We expect the demand for PSU will increase as the on-line court develops and LIPs need help with digital applications. At the present time 86% of our work is Family.

We are looking for Law firms to partner with us in providing some Probono representation for the most vulnerable of our clients and to support us financially.  Can your firm partner with us?
We encourage our clients to employ formal legal advice and representation, or advise them if they might qualify for legal aid.  Sadly, the majority of our clients are either on minimum wage or unemployed, and very few qualify for legal aid.

If you can help, please contact Dave at PSU .  Dave can be contacted on 0151 296 2296 or by email at liverpool@thepsu.org.uk
 

LawWorks

LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) is a charity committed to enabling access to justice through free legal advice. We encourage, facilitate, support and celebrate the contribution of pro bono (by solicitors, law schools, law students and others) across England and Wales.

While pro bono is not, and should not become, an alternative to legal aid - it makes an important contribution to accessing legal information, advice and representation. Supported by the Law Society, our members and funders, our work is informed by advice and support needs, developed in collaboration with partners and stakeholders and delivered by a network of committed volunteer lawyers and law students. We enable the provision of pro bono through:

•    Supporting a growing network of over 230 independent pro bono clinics . We work with lawyers, advice agencies, charities and others to establish or develop new clinics, and provide on-going support, information, training and webinars and legal resources (including the online legal research tools Lexis®Library and Lexis®PSL);
•    Our Not-For-Profits Programme facilitates the provision of free legal advice for smaller charities and not-for-profit organisations, supported by volunteer solicitors from among LawWorks members. We also provide free online training videos for charities, covering many of the common legal issues they face;
•    We support more in-depth pro bono (‘secondary specialisation’ ), in areas of social welfare law. This includes supporting solicitors to provide representation at First Tier social security tribunals (for Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independent Payment appeals), piloting an unpaid wages project, and, working with the charity Together for Short Lives, to provide legal advice and case-work for the parents and carers of children with life-limiting conditions.
Addressing barriers to justice: a ‘policy voice’ for pro bono

We work to remove barriers to pro bono and use evidence from the work of local clinics, our members and others to advocate for positive policy change to better enable access to free legal advice and to justice.

We have begun to build a ‘policy voice’ for LawWorks and pro bono, including co-ordinating a briefing for the Justice Committee on legal aid and the review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) (supported by 15 organisations). LawWorks provides the Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pro Bono and Public Legal Education.
 

Membership of LawWorks
The support of our members is vital to our work. Membership of LawWorks makes an important contribution towards the achievement of our charitable objectives and supporting our work in enabling and celebrating pro bono and the importance of access to justice.

We have over 150 members, including some of the largest City and international firms, national, regional and local firms, and in-house teams, law schools and charities. We support our members in a number of ways, including information, guidance and advice (for example, in setting up or developing a pro bono project), and facilitating pro bono activity and connections through our Not-For-Profits Programme (including an ‘Honorary Counsel’ role for solicitors as a source of ongoing advice and support for a specific charity).

Members have the opportunity to nominate for our annual awards https://www.lawworks.org.uk/solicitors-and-volunteers/get-involved/lawwo... and have access to our training, online resources, newsletters and networking opportunities (including a quarterly pro bono forum and regional events), and have the opportunity to contribute to our growing policy work.

By joining LawWorks you will be supporting our charitable work to encourage, support and celebrate pro bono, and also our work to highlight - and address - barriers to accessing justice. The fee depends upon the size of the firm - with other categories for in-house teams and organisations.

For more information about membership of LawWorks and the difference your membership can make, please get in touch with James Sandbach, Director of Policy, at james.sandbach@lawworks.org.uk  or on 020 7092 3941, or visit our website at: www.lawworks.org.uk

Equality and human rights resources for advisers

The information on the EHRC website is aimed at:
 

  •     the advice sector
  •     solicitors
  •     trade unions
  •     ombudsman schemes
  •     other organisations that support individuals with their problems

They've brought together advice and guidance on some of the most common subjects. You will find information about the following topics:
 

  •     human rights
  •     services and public functions
  •     education
  •     employment
  •     public sector equality duty (PSED)
  •     popular topics
  •     resolving complaints

Visit the EHRC webpage here