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How can you get students involved?

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How does King's Legal Clinic operate?

What kind of work will students do?

King's Legal Clinic is a generalist advice-only law clinic. That 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.
How do clients get in touch with the clinic?

Potential clients can contact us by telephone, email or using our online form to request an appointment. A conflict check is carried out to make sure there is no conflict of interest in acting for this client. If we are able to take on their case, then the matter will be allocated to two of our student advisers who will work together to advise the client.

Once an appointment has been arranged for the client, the student advisers will then be responsible for opening and maintaining a file for their client. A letter confirming the appointment is sent to the client along with a client agreement containing detailed information about the nature of our service and how to get to the clinic. We expect most appointments to take place between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm, Monday to Thursday, but there may be some appointments during the day.

What happens once a client has been booked in for an appointment?

On the day of the appointment, working in pairs, students will meet and greet the client, accompany them to the interview room, and then conduct the interview on their own. The supervising solicitor will not take part in the interview but will be available to help with any queries. With the client’s permission, the interview is recorded and will be available afterward to stimulate reflection from the students on what could have been done differently.

Over the next two weeks, the students will analyse the client’s problem, identify and research the key issues, and draft a letter of advice. Writing a legal letter is very different to writing an essay and it takes time to get it right. For this reason, we make sure the client understands that it takes a little longer to produce the advice. Nevertheless, the client can be assured that the quality of the advice is of a high standard.

Ordinarily the advice letter will be sent to the client two weeks after the date of their initial appointment.

What will students gain from volunteering for King's Legal Clinic?

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. Most problems are multi-layered. They start out as a property issue but end up as a consumer law matter. Or the client thinks they are the victim of a breach of contract when in fact they themselves may have committed the breach.

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

Who is eligible?

If you are a final year undergraduate LLB or other law programme student , you can take the Student Law Clinic module as one of your optional module choices.

What will the module involve?

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.

How many places are there?

There are 24 places available on the module. If the module is over subscribed, places will be randomly allocated.

Getting involved with King's Legal Clinic: As an extra-curricular activity

Who is eligible?

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.
How to apply for extra-curricular place

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the clinic.

Our February 2018 Recruitment is now closed. We will be looking to recruit more volunteers at the start of the academic year 2018/2019.

If have any questions about volunteering, please feel free to email kingslegalclinic@kcl.ac.uk.

 

Will there be other volunteering opportunities through the clinic?

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?

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.

Do I have to pay anything for the training?

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.

Is there an application process?

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 kind of work will students do?

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.

What will students gain from volunteering for King's Legal Clinic 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.

Do I get any academic credit for the work I do for King's Legal Mediation Project?

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).

 

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