How can you get students involved?
How does King's Legal Clinic operate?
What kind of work will students do?
How do clients get in touch with the clinic?
King's Legal Clinic is a generalist advice-only law clinic. This means we do not specialise in any particular area of the law. Instead, when the client first contacts us, we assess whether we have the expertise to be able to supervise the case, we consider the urgency of the matter and we look at whether the case will provide students with an adequate learning opportunity. If we can’t take a case on, then we will refer to other legal service providers. For example:
- Where regulation prevents us from offering legal advice (i.e. for debt or consumer credit or immigration and asylum issues); or
- Due to being an advice-only service, we are not able to represent clients in court or before tribunals and cannot conduct litigation on their behalf.
The Clinic also offers legal advice in a range of specialist areas and works with leading law firms to run clinics focused on:
What happens once a client has been booked in for an appointment?
Clients generally get in touch by filling our our online enquiry form to request an appointment. Alternatively, clients can also email or ring the clinic directly with details of their query.
Before a client is offered an appointment, a conflict check is carried out to make sure there is no conflict of interest in assisting the client. If we are able to take on their case, then the matter will be allocated to our Student Advisers who will work together to draft the letter of advice for the client.
We will generally hold appointments on Wednesdays afternoons and/or evenings. However, please bear in mind that appointments may need to be scheduled on other days depending on the availability of our Student Advisers or Supervising Solicitors.
For our Duncan Lewis Immigration and Asylum Clinic, appointments are held on Tuesday evenings.
Once an appointment has been arranged for the client, the Student Advisers will then be responsible for opening and maintaining their client's case file.
What will students gain from volunteering for King's Legal Clinic?
On the day of the appointment, the Student Advisers will meet and greet the client, accompany them to the interview room, and then conduct the interview on their own. Normally, the Supervising Solicitor will not take part in the interview but will be available to help with any queries (for immigration appointments, the solicitor from Duncan Lewis will sit in on the appointment).
Over the next two weeks, the Student Advisers will analyse the client’s problem, identify and research the key issues, and draft a letter of advice.
The letter of advice will then normally be sent to the client two weeks after the date of their initial appointment.
There are so many reasons why working in the clinic is beneficial. The most important one is that it shows you that legal problems do not exist in a vacuum. They do not come neatly labelled as a contract problem or a family law issue, for example.
Sometimes the client’s problem is not actually legal but calls for intervention and support from other agencies. Maybe it would be more appropriate for the client to try mediation to resolve their issue - you may then want to refer them to our King's Legal Clinic Mediation Project. Other times, the client struggles to tell you what their problem is, and it becomes your job to help the client articulate their questions.
As a result you will have to develop a whole range of skills which are different to those you have been learning on your law programme:
- Problem solving;
- Active listening;
- Legal research and accurate note taking; and
- Demonstrating empathy whilst at the same time maintaining professional distance.
These are just some of the skills and attributes you will develop through working with the clinic.
We also know that employers value the experience that students get from working on real life problems. It helps you develop what are known as 'soft skills' which they are often looking for and exposes you to the difference between knowing the law and practicing the law.
Because many of the cases you will encounter involve people at the sharp end of political and legal decisions, involvement in the clinic forces you to think about how laws are made, who makes the laws and what can be done where well-intentioned policy results in bad law.
Getting involved with King's Legal Clinic: For credit
Student Law Clinic Module
Who is eligible?
What will the Student Law Clinic module involve?
You can take the Student Law Clinic module as one of your optional module choices if you are a final year undergraduate LLB or other law programme student.
This is a 30 credit module.
How many places are there?
Working in firms of four, you will work on up to four cases under the supervision of qualified lawyers. You will reflect on your experience, the development of your skills and your understanding of the law. There will also be opportunities for you to consider in greater depth, some of the tensions between working on cases as part of an educational programme and the increasing demand for law schools to provide support to people who would otherwise be denied access to justice.
You are encouraged to also explore the effectiveness of the law and legal procedures which relate to the cases you handle and, where possible, to consider what if any changes could be made.
There are 24 places available on the module. If the module is over subscribed, places will be randomly allocated.
Law & Social Change Module
Who is eligble?
What will the Law & Social Change module involve?
From January 2019, we will begin running our Law & Social Change module.
You can take the Law & Social Change module as one of your optional module choices if you are a final year undergraduate LLB or other law programme student.
This is a 15 credit module.
How many places are there?
The module will involving looking at the ways in which law can be used to provoke social change and achieve social justice. You will study alongside students who are currently serving a prison sentence at HMP Belmarsh. All the teaching for this module will take place at HMP Belmarsh.
There are 10 places available on the module. If the module is over subscribed, places will be randomnly allocated.
Getting involved with King's Legal Clinic: As an extra-curricular activity
Who is eligible?
How to apply for extra-curricular place
Students enrolled on any law programme at The Dickson Poon School of Law are eligible to volunteer for the clinic.
To be a Student Adviser for the clinic, you need to be enrolled on any law programme with The Dickson Poon School of Law and be an undergraduate in your penultimate or final year of study or a postgraduate student.
You will normally work in pairs on at least one case and will be a full member of the clinic. As such, you will be expected to meet the same standards as students studying on the Student Law Clinic module. You will follow exactly the same practices and procedures as set out in the module and at the end of the case will be expected to produce a short reflective report on the experience.
As a student adviser, you will be:
- Interviewing clients to get a better understanding of the facts of their case;
- Opening and managing a file for your client's case; and
- Drafting and sending out a written letter of advice to your client.
There will also be opportunities to get involved in the running and promotion of the clinic. We will be looking for students to help with the administration of the clinic and this is an ideal opportunity for new law students to find out how the clinic works.
The Student Administrator role is primarily aimed at first year LLB students (although we welcome anyone at any stage of a law programme who would like to assist) and will involve dealing with administrative tasks such as:
- Responding to client queries;
- Contacting student advisers if they have received post/email correspondence from their clients;
- Greeting clients on the day of their appointment and escorting them up to the meeting room; and
- Assisting with marketing the clinic to a wider audience e.g. writing articles for our blog.
Will there be other volunteering opportunities through the clinic?
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the clinic.
Please note we require you to provide us with personal information to enable us to assess your eligibility for the volunteering programme.
We will only use your personal information for the purposes of assessing your suitability to volunteer. We will delete your information within 28 days of notifying you of whether your application has been successful or not.
We are not currently recruiting for extracurricular volunteers.
If have any questions about volunteering, please feel free to email email@example.com.
Yes. Any other volunteering opportunities made available through King's Legal Clinic will be advertised on our Volunteering Opportunities page.
Getting involved with King's Legal Clinic Mediation Project
Who is eligible?
Do I have to pay anything for the training?
King's Legal Clinic Mediation Project is a collaboration between the KCL Pro Bono Society and King's Legal Clinic. You can find out more about all the activities the KCL Pro Bono Society offer on their website.
The KCL Pro Bono Society normally offers the opportunity to undergo mediation training where you will have the chance to complete the certified mediation course and become qualified in civil and commercial mediation (the number of sessions offered is dependent on student interest). The training is provided and takes place at the Society of Mediators at 218 Strand. This opportunity is exclusive to members of the KCL Pro Bono Society. Once qualified, you will be able to join the group of mediators volunteering for the King's Legal Clinic Mediation Project.
Is there an application process?
In previous years, the cost for the Civil Mediation training, which takes place over the course of one week, has been around £400 plus VAT. Further details of the cost and any discount available will be provided by the KCL Pro Bono Society.
What kind of work will students do?
We will advertise the project at the start of the academic year and invite applications at that point. Depending on the level of interest, you may be asked to come in for an interview as well.
What will students gain from volunteering for King's Legal Clinic Mediation Project?
Students who have completed the training and qualified as mediators will be conducting mediations for clients who seek the assistance of King's Legal Clinic Mediation Project. The students, working in pairs, will help the clients work through their problems using facilitative mediation. This is a process where the mediator offers no comment on the merits of the case, neither do they provide any evaluation of the case. Instead, the mediator assists the clients to reach an agreement among themselves using a variety of negotiation techniques.
Like the general work of King's Legal Clinic, most mediation appointments will likely take place between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm, Monday to Thursday, but there may be some appointments that take place during the day.
Do I get any academic credit for the work I do for King's Legal Mediation Project?
Working as a mediator is an excellent way to develop your interpersonal and communication skills. It offers you an insight into negotiation from a perspective you do not get when acting as a lawyer for your client. These skills can be used in all sorts of situations and careers. Previous students who attended the training have gone on to use their qualification in a range of roles within the legal, financial, diplomatic and non-profit sector.
This is an extra-curricular activity so you do not get academic credit for taking part. However, you can use the work you do as a basis for demonstrating you meet the criteria for the King's Leadership and Professional Skills award or ask for it to be recorded on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).