(Left: Supervisors in front of Stellanbosch University law faculty. Right: Supervisors amongst other delegates at the conference.)

In December 2022, our law clinic director, Kate Laverty, and law clinic supervisors, Kathleen Bolt and Gillian Melville, took part in a 5-day interactive conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa, hosted by the Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE), The conference was attended by participants from countries all over the world, who came together to share and improve existing practices in social justice education. Gillian discusses the conference below.

Social justice education is twofold.

Firstly, it tackles inequality within the education system to minimise factors like wealth, gender and/or race from determining what kind of education an individual can receive. The University of Strathclyde’s successful widening access programme is an example of this type of social justice education in action.

Secondly, it introduces social justice into teaching methods and the curriculum. Instead of ignoring real-world issues such as racism, sexism, and poverty, it addresses and encourages students to exercise critical thinking in these matters, and to apply their knowledge to real cases so they can ‘learn by doing.’

Strathclyde law clinic has social justice education at its heart. Our student advisers show their commitment to access to justice through their casework and volunteerism, and some through their participation in the Clinic’s LLB programme. We showcased this at the GAJE conference by presenting a paper on student representation in courts and tribunals. The workshop was attended by delegates from Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India, the UK, South Africa, the USA, and more. Everyone in attendance was impressed by the level and quality of representation offered by students of Strathclyde Law Clinic and were inspired to explore the model in their own clinics.

Kathleen Bolt also ran a very well attended session called ‘Teaching by Doing: teaching students to mediate in 20 hours.’ This was an opportunity to promote experiential learning and demonstrate the value and impact of interactive teaching methods used here at Strathclyde. Cross-cultural mediation role plays during the session led to lots of interesting discussion.

Over the course of the 5-day conference, we attended workshops and talks on climate change, widening access, feminism, street law, and more, as well as taking part in social justice visits to hear about the initiatives taking place locally in Stellenbosch. One visit was to a community advice Centre in the heart of the winemaking region. The Centre provided legal advice and representation to rural workers, leading to improved housing and employment practices in the area, and a more empowered community.

The conference provided ample opportunity for interacting with people in plenaries and beyond, where we heard about a wide range of different issues facing different communities globally. Whilst many of the details varied, all countries shared a continuing and growing need for law clinics and social justice education.

Shockingly, according to one speaker, Stellenbosch is number one in the world for inequality of income. Like nearby Cape Town, this area of South Africa can feel incongruent, with wealth and luxurious tourist attractions sitting next to the tin roofs of the townships. Tied to this was the ongoing issue of ‘loadshedding’ which meant electricity was switched off completely for several hours a day. The opening speeches by the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University made it clear that there is much work to be done both in South Africa and globally, and at times it can feel that the direction of travel is downwards. However, these speeches were also hugely inspiring in their realism and hope for the future.

The GAJE conference always reignites a passion for social justice for those that attend. It reminds us that whilst our law clinics may at times feel isolated and small in their reach, we are all part of a committed global community who can and do support each other as we work towards improving the lives of our respective local communities. This feels particularly pertinent as we are faced with the challenges of climate change which requires global thinking and local action. The scale of challenge can feel overwhelming, but the message of GAJE is that every action contributes to the greater sum and, as they say in South Africa, Local is Lekker!

Many thanks to the Law School at Strathclyde for supporting this trip and the law clinic.

More details of the conference can be found here:

We recommend supporting the Stellenbosch Township and Village social enterprise:

By Gillian Melville, Clinic Supervisor

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As it is pro bono week we are keen to highlight one of our pro bono projects, SWRC. In this article our SWRC Coordinator, Amy Woodcock, explains what SWRC is, discusses her involvement in the project, and talks about the experience she has gained through the project.

(Amy Woodcock, Student Advisor and SWRC Coodinator)

The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) is a collaboration between Rape Crisis, the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, and Just Right Scotland. The main aim of the SWRC is to ensure that women in Scotland who have been affected by gender-based violence can access timely and appropriate legal advice and information. The SWRC began in 2015 working mainly in the central belt and has since expanded into other areas in Scotland. The SWRC is a feminist organization; our core belief is that violence against women and girls is a symptom of gender inequality.

The work carried out by the SWRC is indispensable as they seek to close the gap between women in society who have experienced gender-based violence and their access to justice. Not only do they represent survivors of abuse but they carry out  research and policy work to influence and improve the functions of the legal system for women.

I have been a volunteer for the SWRC for a year now and the experience I have gained has been invaluable. Not only have I developed my legal skills but also I have grown more aware of the modern-day issues affecting women within society. I can see how vital the work that the SWRC carry out is not only for their clients but for all women. The SWRC provides a variety of resources ranging from your rights in the criminal justice process to more recently your rights regarding Brexit. This is easy-to-access information that can offer guidance to anyone impacted.

I look forward to continuing working closely alongside the SWRC and being able to contribute to achieving their aims.

By Amy Woodcock, Student Advisor and SWRC Coordinator

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Pro Bono Week: Law Clinics and the Cost of Living Crisis (and our initial advice clinics)

During Pro Bono Week UK, the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic is seeking to recruit new volunteer solicitors to help at its fortnightly Initial Advice Clinics.

(Alasdair Flett, Student Advisor and IAC Coordinator)

Solicitors and law students both juggle competing commitments, whether commitments to clients or coursework. When you’re feeling the weight of a hefty workload, it can be difficult to find the time, literally and mentally, to participate in activities beyond your immediate professional and academic goals.

Remote Volunteering

Despite the last of Coronavirus-related restrictions lifting this year, many pre-pandemic activities have failed to resume in their previous manner, and the promised “bounce back” has been less elastic than anticipated. The legal profession had to make massive and radical adjustments to adapt to Covid-19. There were gains to be had from the switch to video conferencing and remote working, notably the extension of the range of clients you can see and the time saved by reduced travel.

Our experience in the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, and particularly with our fortnightly Initial Advice Clinics, certainly reflected the benefits of remote volunteering (one of the six themes of Pro Bono Week UK), enabling us to assist clients from much further afield than typically possible and provide access to justice beyond our normal jurisdiction of the Greater Glasgow area.

At the start of this academic semester, however, we re-introduced in-person appointments while maintaining online appointments for those unable to make it to the Clinic building itself. It has been a joy to finally meet the dedicated volunteer solicitors who helped us to continue the service throughout the pandemic and thank them face-to-face for their commitment. Clients have also benefitted from having the option for human connection without the digital barrier.

What is an Initial Advice Clinic?

The Initial Advice Clinics, known internally as IACs, represent one of three advice streams provided by the student-led University of Strathclyde Law Clinic. They are a middle ground between full representation (for example, in Simple Procedure actions and Employment Tribunal claims) and our provision of researched bespoke written advice in response to email enquiries through our Online Project.

With the help of volunteer solicitors, every second Wednesday we can offer 30-minute appointments to clients whose legal issues either do not benefit from legal aid or for whom the cost of instructing a solicitor is financially prohibitive. Students lead the first part of this interview by “triaging” the client’s problem by asking questions to tease out information that could hold significance for the solicitor’s advice in the second part of the appointment.

Why volunteer at an Initial Advice Clinic?

My experience with the IACs has been highly educational and deeply rewarding. For anyone with an interest in social justice, it is an opportunity not only to witness first-hand the types of legal issues people are facing in today’s economic conditions but also in some small part, even at an individual level, to do something about them.

A real positive demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic was people’s willingness and desire to help in any way they could. Sadly much of this potentially productive spirit of solidarity was not mobilised and has been allowed to dissipate, channelled instead into a contactless, much more solipsistic conception of compassion.

Many volunteering drives respond to crises. Indeed, the first of the six themes of Pro Bono Week UK is “stepping forward when it matters”, which may be interpreted as “when crisis calls”. Several commentators have described our times as a state of “permacrisis”. If that is the case, then the call to volunteer must be met not with a single step but a constant forward march. That is not to say that the pace must always be maintained, and it might be the case you will need to stand at ease for weeks, or even months on end, when duty calls in other areas of your life.

The reality is that gaps in legal provision continue to exist, despite the law applying to everyone. We don’t live in an ideal world, and this means we need pro bono lawyers in the here and now. So, if you can spare a couple of hours, your dedication won’t go to waste!

Law Clinics and our “permacrisis”

It is impossible to ignore the systemic failings that have resulted in pay rates repeatedly failing to match inflation and the ensuing inevitable generalised face-offs between employers and employees; the neglect on the part of successive governments to actively address the housing crisis, forcing people into exploitative tenancies, and exceedingly profitable energy companies squeezing consumers as far as they dare, largely without sanction.

Volunteering at an Initial Advice Clinic will, in all likelihood, have a negligible effect on the meta-crisis engulfing most sectors of the economy at the moment. It can, however, have an effect on an individual’s personal crisis.

While the Employment Tribunal was established as a more accessible format for workers to resolve their disputes without the pressure of rigid and overly formal procedure, increased legalisation has meant self-representation has become a much more daunting prospect. Many of our cases arise from former or current employees concerned they will be denied redress because they don’t know tribunal etiquette or worry about an abundance of strict rules. One 30-minute consultation with a volunteer can set their mind at ease and empower them to accurately present their case.

A tenant may be asked to move by their landlord at short notice; they won’t be getting their deposit back, and the bathroom is full of unaddressed mould. The landlord gave her a two-page template agreement it looks like he took from the internet. The client feels she has no choice but to find somewhere else to live. She attends an IAC and realises she has rights and won’t be forced to leave.

These are just two examples of the typical situations encountered at an IAC. The cost of living crisis is pushing more and more people into the position where paying for a solicitor is not feasible. That has the inevitable consequence of people not being empowered to enforce their rights and having their access to justice denied. Yet you can fight against this. Even if it feels like taking a hand chisel to a mountain made of diamond, with that chisel you can turn someone’s personal crisis into clarity. You can have that transformative effect, and you need only give 30 minutes of your time.

How do I get involved?

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic is currently seeking new volunteer solicitors to help at its fortnightly IACs. We particularly welcome solicitors who can advise on housing law relating to residential tenancies. Solicitors with expertise in employment law and consumer rights are also very welcome. If you can spare the time, we ask that you commit to one two-hour session per month, but if your are able to attend fortnightly we would not discourage more frequent participation.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Alasdair Flett, the Initial Advice Clinic coordinator, for further information:

By Alasdair Flett, IAC Coordinator and Student Advisor

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Pro Bono Week: The True Importance of Pro-Bono Legal Services

In this article one of our Student Directors, Paige Alexander, discusses the importance of pro bono work from the perspective of a Student Advisor within the Clinic. Paige also talks about some of the Clinic’s pro bono work and how undertaking pro bono work not only bridges the gap of access to justice, but also produces more compassionate and well-rounded legal professionals. 

The provision of pro-bono legal services within society is fundamental. It assists in preserving the Rule of Law, which is the foundation upon which our democratic society is built. The Rule of Law is essentially about ensuring that citizens are treated equally before the law, human rights are protected, and citizens can access efficient and predictable dispute resolution mechanisms. Unquestionably, this cannot be achieved by those without means, without the existence of pro-bono legal services.

Organisations, such as the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, exist to provide access to justice. This is a basic principle of the Rule of Law which describes how citizens access equal justice within their legal systems. Regretfully many individuals face insurmountable barriers when seeking to access justice. Often, the most significant, is a financial barrier. It is no secret, that accessing legal advice and obtaining legal representation is costly, and many individuals within society simply cannot afford this expense. Consequently, such individuals are unable to access justice.

During my time as a Student Advisor, I have seen first-hand the invaluable impact of pro-bono legal services. For instance, over the last year, the Clinic provided legal assistance, in various forms, to 406 individuals via our various case streams and projects. Each of these 406 individuals, would not have been able to effectively access justice without the help of our services. This undoubtedly demonstrates the pressing need for pro-bono legal services and the true value of their work.

Throughout my time at the Clinic, I recognised the prevalence of the access to justice issue. Regrettably, this issue disproportionately affects certain groups within society, such as those belonging to lower socio-economic groups and some minority groups. In the absence a fully comprehensive legal aid system, pro bono legal services act as an antidote, helping to remedy this situation.

Although, elements of our justice system such as the Employment Tribunal and Simple Procedure, were created with the view of enabling individuals to represent themselves, in practice, for many clients this would not be possible for a variety of reasons. Without the assistance of pro-bono legal services, many of our clients would not be able to access justice due to an inability to adequately represent themselves.

The importance of our work can be illustrated through our success. Over the last year alone, we won/saved £160,295.31 for our clients. Additionally, we were at the forefront of a landmark decision which established long-covid as a disability. However, the outcomes of our cases vary, and the measure of success is subjective. For some of our clients, success takes the form of simply being able to access legal advice and representation, acknowledgement of unfair treatment or acceptance of liability from the Respondent, a good character reference, or payment of money owed to the client. For others, success takes the form of a well negotiated financial settlement or a legal judgment, in their favour, following a successful hearing. The Clinic exists to provide access to justice to those who need it most. Many of our clients are vulnerable and find themselves in particularly difficult situations and often appreciate simply having someone to advise and support them through their dispute. Even clients who attend a hearing that does not go in their favour, feel a measure of success, as our assistance and representation allows their narrative to be heard.

In addition to helping to bridge the gap by providing access to justice, being involved in the provision of pro-bono legal services, provides lawyers and law students with the opportunity to develop their legal skills. Among those skills, prioritised at the Law Clinic is a holistic trauma informed approach to client care. It is hoped that this approach produces more emotionally intelligent empathetic lawyers better able to serve their clients’ needs. This aligns with the true purpose of pro- bono work which is ‘for the public good’, as it assists in producing more compassionate and approachable legal professionals.

Since joining the Clinic, my passion to enabling access to justice for all individuals has been ignited. It is a privilege to be part of such an invaluable organisation working towards an honourable cause. The importance of the provision of pro-bono legal services is immeasurable and pro-bono work is integral within society.

By Paige Alexander, Student Advisor and Student Director

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Pro Bono Week: My First Year as a Student Advisor

It is Pro Bono Week, and we wanted to celebrate by posting an article by our student advisor and IAC Deputy Coordinator, Natalie Marshall. Natalie reflects on her first year as a student advisor. Through Natalie’s reflection we see that undertaking pro bono work through the clinic has given Natalie practical experience, confidence, and enhanced skill development. Pro bono work offers this whether you are a law student or practicing solicitor and we recommend everyone to consider undertaking some form of pro bono work. Natalie will also highlight some of her responsibilities through the Executive Committee, taking on casework, and assisting in managing the Initial Advice Clinic project. This is worth reading if you have recently joined the Clinic and would like to find out how to get involved.

(Natalie Marshall, Student Advisor and IAC Deputy Coordinator)

Hi, everyone. My name is Natalie & I’m the Deputy IAC Coordinator within the Strathclyde Law Clinic.

I joined the Law Clinic in October 2021. At that time, my first responsibility was to undertake the compulsory initial advice training provided by Mhairi and Sophie, who both did such a good job in explaining the duties and responsibilities that go along with the role. Unfortunately, due to the Government restrictions in place at the time, this training was conducted over Zoom, but it was conducted in a way which was still really enjoyable. During these training sessions, I learned how the Clinic operates and how to draft correspondence to clients, staff, and fellow advisers. This training programme was extremely insightful and provided me with various examples of how to use my own initiative to make the most of my time in the Clinic, which I continue to try and do.

After completing the training, I decided to step forward for the role of elected member. This involved acting as a key point of contact through which students and staff members can raise highlights or concerns at the monthly Executive Committee meetings. I was responsible for drafting emails to members to make sure they had a voice in the Clinic, as well as working as part of a team to make changes across the Clinic, which also allowed me to learn more about the operation of the Clinic, meet other student advisors and develop relationships with the supervisors.

Around one month into the role of elected member, I decided I would like to gain experience in interviewing clients and reached out to the Initial Advice Clinic coordinators. I had attended the IAC training session and signed up as an “inexperienced” advisor to watch the experienced advisors triage clients and a supervising solicitor then give out legal advice. I began attending regularly and leading my own appointments with a solicitor, which hugely grew my confidence in interfacing with clients.

During the second semester of my first year in the Clinic, I had the opportunity to join a case with an experienced advisor which focused on housing law. This experience allowed me to learn how to directly support a client in their case. I also regularly met with my co-advisor and drafted emails and letters to the client and opposing side. The experienced advisor and supervisor on the case with me were extremely patient and supportive throughout, which I really appreciated.

During the summer there were lots of opportunities to take on more case work which allowed me to take on another 2 housing cases and 1 employment case. These involved a wide variety of tasks, such as meet with clients, draft legal correspondence to the parties involved, and even attending tribunal hearings as a note-taker. I was also able to take on the role of IAC Deputy Co-ordinator – since taking up this role, I have seen first-hand how important this project is to our clients’ ability to  achieve access to justice. I have loved assisting in getting these appointments back in-person in the Clinic office, as well as meeting so many students and solicitors along the way.

I believe my time in the Clinic so far has enhanced my time at Strathclyde massively; I have grown confidence, developed many skills, and gained friendships with many of the people involved. All I have achieved in the past year would not have been possible without the support from the existing student advisors and supervisors who have allowed me to overcome feelings of imposter syndrome and self-doubt. Going forward I hope to see the closing of some of my cases with positive outcomes for the clients I’ve supported and can’t wait to see what lies ahead of the next year!

By Natalie Marshall, Student Advisor and IAC Deputy Coordinator

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Black History Month Post: “Superpower”

To celebrate the end of Black History Month we have an article from student advisor, Ashley McClain. Ashley reflects on personal experience which offers an important viewpoint we should all consider and take forward.

(Student advisor, Ashley McClain)


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?”


Whenever I see this question on social media, I immediately choose “invisibility,” despite the fact that in the back of my mind I know superpowers, magic, spoiler alert: Santa Claus and other magical things do not exist. But that conclusion might not be true after all because, somehow, I have discovered the power of invisibility since moving to Glasgow, Scotland. You read me right! I can be invisible. I realize as I type this that it is sounding a little Outlander-ish but please, hear me out. I am able to walk on sidewalks and go unnoticed. I can be on a video call and never be seen by those on the call with me. But it’s not only invisibility I possess. I can make people forget facts I tell them too, for example, when I’m asked about where I am from. This side power reminds me of the device in the movie Men in Black that could make witnesses forget about whatever alien event they just witnessed. But the thing that I can’t quite figure out with my invisibility superpower, much like Aang (from Avatar) when he was learning how to wield his control over the four elements, is why I cannot always get it to work. The invisibility power seems to only work when I am around (a large majority of) white people.


Don’t misunderstand me. There have been many white people, who see and acknowledge me, like any other human being. The levels of love, warmth, hospitality, and kindness that I have received, particularly from those in the Christian community has been extremely overwhelming (the good kind) and comforting given my being so far from home. But with others, it’s as though my invisibility power enters Super Saiyan mode. How does my power work on other ethnic groups? Stay tuned to find out.


The community of black and mixed-ethnic groups, whom I’ve had the privilege of spending time around and learning more about, have expressed that they too possess similar invisibility strengths: “I am not seen by the white Scottish men or women here [in Glasgow].” “I agree with that.” “I feel like being or feeling like an outsider prevails a lot, especially in university.” “You might be in classes with solely white people and you feel left out of conversations.” “When it’s time for lunch, you get made to feel like an outsider again.” “Your presence is not wanted but you force it [in order] to fit in or even [relate] with them.” So it seems that it is not only the black community expressing feelings of being overlooked, but also other ethnic groups.


Has this response from the white community been insulting, a cultural shock? Absolutely. I think had I not been raised in a majority black country, where examples of black/brown excellence are in abundance, the effect of this response from the white community could be greater on me. After having a recent conversation with a friend, who, like me, was raised and grew up in a country where the majority of the demographic is black/non-white, we both came to a similar conclusion: our joy about having been raised around other people who look like us.


Why? Because we were able to see countless examples of black/brown excellence or, to put it more simply, a lot more positive representation. Think about what representation might’ve looked like had we grown up in a country with a white majority. This is not to say all such representation would be negative, surely not. (e.g. Google Doodle recently featured a story on Andrew Watson as the first black Scots international footballer who brought wide acclaim to Scots football.) So my concern here is not the complete absence of positive black representation, but more so the frequency and extent of such representation.

I guess the significance of this did not strike me until now, until leaving the environment where this was and still is a very common, regular part of social life. The impact of seeing black/brown people living out fulfilling lives, having successful careers or in positions of power when the messaging in majority white countries about these same ethnic groups clearly made this seem strange, uncommon or an impossibility has been and is now super significant. Seeing people who look like us and do the best they can with the resources around them showed us that anything is possible, and we, in turn, act in that power and truly believe that we can achieve whatever we put our minds to. My friend went on to talk about his strong self-assurance, confidence, sense of identity and concluded that that might not have been possible had he not been raised in his home country. “I [am] so happy I was raised in [redacted].” I told him I shared a similar thankfulness. That is not to say home is free from its problems, but they did get one thing right: examples and portrayals of black excellence.


In this same conversation, we also touched on navigating racism and figuring out the difference between behaviour that is/is not racist. Even this part of the conversation was kind of challenging as we tried to think about how to class racist conduct: “That’s racist!” “Oh no that wasn’t racist!” “That was definitely racist!” Not always entirely sure about the behaviour itself, I think the general conclusion we came to is that there is an undeniable sentiment attached to certain behaviours, which most certainly point to racism. And that’s the thing with racism: even though it can change its form and reappear in many different ways, I think it always feels the same. The feelings and connotations attached to it do not change. Nevertheless, its ability to appear in a trillion, million, thousand ways makes it particularly taxing to navigate (at least to me). The burden of questioning every single interaction with a white person for fear that there might be some underlying racist sentiment is much too heavy for me (a whole 25 year old), let alone, a 4 or 11 year old black/brown child to carry.


Naturally, I started to consider if this invisibility stems from racism. “Sometimes in their case they don’t mean it or realise it which is an issue.” A black friend, having made this comment, made me consider that there might genuinely be moments when white people do not intend or realize that they are not being inclusive of the other ethnic groups around them. I think we all can make this mistake sometimes. Caught up in our own worlds and agendas, we do not pause to consider nor make the effort to include our African, Arab, Indian, Korean, Chinese or Spanish counterparts in an activity that simultaneously impacts them. This makes me think about how I treat people from different ethnic groups. Is there some way I can be more considerate of my community (and not just those who look like me)?


Unfortunately, there was a time recently when my powers didn’t work so well. My power did not render me completely invisible to the human eye and yet, I was still not seen by the white people around me. On a particular night, a group of me and my peers booked out a table at a local student bar (in advance) to unwind. Keep in mind that we are not always at this bar so our being there could definitely be thought of as a special occasion. Growing tired of the music on the playlist, I made a song request at the bar and was told that I could only make “one request.” I also asked whether it would be possible for me to provide a list of about 10 songs to be played throughout the night as a way of juggling the original playlist and what we wanted to hear. But no, I was told that I could only make “one request.” I was genuinely bothered by this response, though wanting to enjoy the night, I went back to my people and told them to make the most of the song I requested because we would only get one. How is it that all night only one genre of music catered primarily to white patrons be played and my request for a song that isn’t what the majority wanted to hear is treated as asking for too much? Shouldn’t the DJ or whomever was responsible for music that night sought to have catered to the crowd that was present that night? Am I misunderstanding the purpose of a chill out spot? Shouldn’t that spot help its patrons enjoy themselves/unwind?


They don’t acknowledge that they do leave us blacks out of the mix.”


Though invisibility has its perks, I still, like Aang, need to learn how to turn it off and adjust its strength. There are times when I do not want to be bothered and other times when being seen/acknowledged is what I need. Every white person that I have met has not overlooked me or my needs and I am sure that I have black peers who will agree. However, the consensus remains that we are not acknowledged or seen enough. This feeling of invisibility still lingers. If you are a white person, think about how you can be more inclusive of the black people around you not only for the rest of this month, but continuously. I will go beyond black people and ask you to consider those from other ethnic backgrounds as well. I personally will think and effort to be more inclusive of those around me, ever aware of how strange it is to be visible and yet unseen by those around you.


“Can I turn this thing off?”


By Ashley McClain, Student Advisor


Further Info on UK Black History Months:


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My summer in the clinic

Two summer students, Fiona and Sasha, talk about their time as a summer student. They discuss some of the tasks that were involved, including getting the clinic ready for the new semester, taking on new cases, and keeping on track with existing cases. They also discuss the benefits of taking on the role of summer student and their experience of moving back to in-person working.


This summer I worked part time at the Law Clinic as a ‘summer student’ and also started the role of The Asylum Project (TAP) coordinator. We were a team of 9 summer students working in person at the Clinic. It was great to be back in the office, to get to know fellow advisors, supervisors and also to meet clients in person too. The Clinic feels lively again and I’m looking forward to being able to come to here to do my Clinic casework now that the semester has started back up again too.

During the summer I did combination of casework and TAP work. During the summer I worked on two employment cases. This was the first opportunity I had to work on an employment case, and it was interesting to get to learn about this part of the law from a practical perspective. It was also been really helpful to be able to run any queries I have past the supervisors in person, they are all really approachable and supportive.

For TAP, I continue to work closely with Gillian, the Immigration Case Supervisor, to update our materials (including the website, handbook and training materials) ahead of the new intake of TAP student advisors next semester. I have also started working with a new client who is seeking assistance with gathering evidence for a fresh asylum claim.

Working at the Law Clinic as a summer student was a really positive experience. I’m got lots of good casework experience, learnt a lot and I feel I have grown in confidence by taking on these new cases.


During the summer I worked as a summer student within the Law Clinic. The majority of my time in this role was spent working on both new and existing cases. The role involved primarily working from the offices in the Graham Hills building on campus. Before this opportunity I had never been into the Clinic, and this is something I really enjoyed about the role. Although zoom meetings do have some perks, I much prefer working in the Clinic. There are so many benefits to in person working; for example, being able to converse with other students and run ideas and questions by each other in relation to case work without the need to wait on email replies. Another benefit is having supervisors around whom you can chat to about case work and any ideas you have. In person advisor meetings are much better too, everything flows naturally, and it is good to have discussions with fellow advisors not interrupted by poor connections and poor video quality.

I have really enjoyed working on casework without the pressure of other academic work. During the academic year, things often get pretty hectic very quickly and it is often a struggle to balance clinic work with academic work, a part time job and somewhat of a social life. However, I have really been enjoying focussing on my casework and not having to think about any looming deadlines in relation to general university studies. This has also allowed me to take on multiple cases in different practise areas which with the pressure of academic studies I would have been hesitant to put myself forward for.

Another highlight from this experience is seeing so many new advisors coming into the Clinic to work on cases. I started my university studies and clinic work at the start of the Covid pandemic and therefore all my initial training and first cases were conducted remotely. I would have loved the opportunity to engage in person with the Clinic from the start of my studies however due to the situation this was just not possible. It is lovely to see so many advisors taking up the opportunity to come into the clinic over the summer and would encourage anyone who is working on a case over the summer to arrange with your co-advisor to come into the office. I know it can be daunting going to a new place at first, however everyone is so welcoming and there has been such a lovely buzz to the offices over the summer.

As well as casework, myself along with the other summer students have been completing a variety of admin tasks which help to prepare the clinic for the upcoming academic year. Some of these tasks include updating the outdated executive committee lists on the walls, updating the walls with new information and signage, client archiving, tidying of the library, updating of student lists to only name a few. These tasks keep us all busy alongside casework and allow us to get away from our laptops and do something productive other than case work. These tasks are crucial for the clinic to operate in the way it does especially with a transition back to in person working, the offices were abandoned at the start of the pandemic with little to no notice and therefore we have the job along with supervisors and Diane of getting them back up to scratch in time for the new academic year starting in September.

I am extremely grateful to the Law Clinic for this opportunity, and I would encourage anyone wanting to get involved more in the Clinic to take up the opportunity to do so over the summer before the chaos of classes start again. If anyone has any questions about how to get involved, what opportunities there are or any general questions about the clinic do not hesitate to contact me.

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Rebecca Dyer, Clinic Graduate, Says ‘Goodbye’ to the Law Clinic

(Rebecca Dyer, Clinic Alumni)

Rebecca Dyer, 2022 Clinic Graduate and 2021/22 Student Director, talks about her time in the Clinic and offers encouragement for remaining and future members. We hear a little about where Rebecca is now and how she looks forward to keeping up to date with the Clinic as a new alumni.

Some weeks ago, I said a “goodbye” to the Law Clinic as my academic studies drew to a close. My time in the Clinic was easily, the highlight of my university career. The experience and knowledge I gained, not only as a student advisor working on cases and projects, but also as a Firm Coordinator, Deputy Student Director, and Student Director consecutively, has had a pivotal impact on my academic studies and my employment. I gained a variety of skills and experience which have enabled me to have at least a basic understanding of general processes in legal practice, client care, effective teamwork and collaboration, as well as the operational maintenance and development of an organisation. Being able to work on cases helping people was one of the things I loved the most about the Clinic, coupled with being part of the drive to deliver access to justice to those in need. It can’t be ignored that being a member of the Clinic also gave me the opportunity to meet new friends, to work and learn with solicitors from several areas of discipline, as well as working with and learning from the Clinic staff. On that note, I would like to say a huge thank you to all Clinic staff for their incredible support, encouragement, and time.

As I leave the Law Clinic, I begin my legal career as a trainee solicitor at Cavers & Co. Solicitors in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to relocate from my hometown of Paisley to work for a busy high street firm practising in several areas of discipline, and their support and guidance so far has been amazing and invaluable. I am delighted to be doing my traineeship here, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

While I said goodbye to the Law Clinic, I know for sure that it’s more of a “see you later”, and I am looking forward to seeing what the Clinic can achieve moving forward.

To students who remain members of the Law Clinic, keep up your fantastic work and never give up, and to those who are considering becoming a member of the Clinic, I highly recommend that you do, you won’t regret it!

By Rebecca Dyer, Clinic Alumni

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Working as an Scottish Women’s Rights Centre Intern

(Amy Woodcock, Student Advisor and SWRC Coordinator)

Student advisor, Amy Woodcock, talks about her experience as an SWRC intern. Amy reflects on her concerns after obtaining the internship role and how she overcame these, ultimately gaining invaluable experience. Notedly, Amy has recently secured the role of SWRC coordinator for the coming academic year (2022-23).

For the entirety of my second semester, I was given the opportunity to work as an intern for The Scottish Women’s Right centre alongside my studies. During this time, I was given a variety of tasks which included assisting the solicitors with work on their upcoming cases whilst also conducting research for blogs and guides that would be posted on their website as part of the ROSA project.

Initially I found the experience extremely daunting as I did not feel as though I deserved to be there, an issue in which I am sure many of my peers will also have experienced. However, I was able to push this feeling aside due to the kindness and support that I was shown by those who also worked within the SWRC. Within the first week I already felt as though I was a valued member of the team whose opinion held merit.

I feel as though the experience allowed me to develop my practical skills such as research methods, and also gave me insight into areas of law which otherwise would not be covered within my degree. I was able to go over and above the law in order to see the impact  which it was having in everyday life, as well as gaining a greater insight into the protections and procedures which are available to survivors, which  again is not an area I was knowledgeable of  prior to my internship..

Prior to starting my law degree, I had the intention of pursuing a career  which had a positive impact on society and was able to help others. The work carried out during this time only strengthened this desire and made me feel as though I was capable of achieving this. I look forward to continuing my work alongside the SWRC for the rest of my degree as well as being able to strengthen the amazing connections I already have with them.

To anyone that is involved within the SWRC already I would highly recommend applying for their summer internship as it is not only a great opportunity to gain some legal experience but also extremely rewarding and if anyone is not already involved within the SWRC I would equally recommend getting involved in the next academic year.

I am so thankful to not only the SWRC but Strathclyde’s Law Clinic for providing me with this opportunity and for giving me the opportunity to solidify my career path.

By Amy Woodcock, Student Advisor and SWRC Coordinator

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(Photo of summer students and summer volunteers in our clinic offices! Left to right: Adam Cranie (Volunteer), Natalie Marshall (Volunteer), Nicola Maguire (Summer Student), Mhairi Strachan (Summer Student).)

Kate Laverty,  Clinic Director, talks about the Clinic’s work throughout summer 2022 and especially the work of our 2022 summer students.This has been an especially exciting summer as our offices are back open and we are able to meet and work in person once again.

It has been just fantastic seeing faces and interacting in person with our students again in our offices in the Graham Hills. While I missed seeing all our colleagues and students in person during our various lock downs I did not realise quite how much I’d missed our upbeat office vibe.  The corridors are echoing again to chat, laughter and the odd voice strained by the heightened stress that comes with an upcoming court or tribunal appearance.

All our summer students are working in person and there is at least one staff member here each day. Staff are still working in a hybrid way which is working very effectively. We are still getting used to some new protocols and procedures but we intend to make the most of any benefits we gained from working remotely over the past two years.

It is always exciting to have new students working with us over the summer. They have hit the ground running and have quickly thrown themselves into demanding and fast paced cases.  Fiona Rennie is working mainly on our asylum cases with Sasha Akavicis, Sophie Rook and Melissa McKillen working on whatever is assigned to them much of it being employment related. Cara Hope and Paige Alexander, our new student directors  are busy with various tasks that help us run the Clinic throughout the year (as well as juggling some casework) and the familiar faces, Mhairi Strachan and Nicola Maguire are working on new cases alongside our volunteeers. As well as cases our summer students are organising training for the next intake of volunteers, making the office look vibrant, up to date and generally lived-in, revamping our library and many other tasks that we find hard to tackle when the terms is in full swing.  Maya Bedi is working with the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre over the summer and has been receiving great feedback on her work. All in all a terrific team who all approach their work with great enthusiasm and are ever contributing ideas for an even better Clinic going into 2022/23.

We have seen increasing numbers of our students volunteering on cases over the summer. Many are juggling jobs and other commitments so their help on cases is hugely appreciated and they ensure that we can keep offering our year round services.

Although the summer weeks are marching on we have had a very productive and energising start to the summer thanks to all our staff and students and we are very much looking forward to the new semester ahead nourished by all that in person interaction which we have missed so much.

By Kate Laverty, Clinic Director

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