Law Clinic Attends Student Union Welfare Week

On Wednesday 23 January 2019, representatives from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic attended the Strathclyde Student Union’s Welfare Week event for Student Services.

The event took place on level four of the Strathclyde Students Union in the Recharge Cafe and provided students with the opportunity to engage with representatives from the various support services available.

Alongside the Law Clinic, the event also featured the Advice Hub, Financial Services, Security, International Student Support Team, Student Accommodation and the Careers Service. The initiative has been developed by John Agbonrofo, the Vice President of Support, in order to promote the support services available to Strathclyde students.

Reflecting on the Welfare Week, John commented:

“Smile Project Strath Union Welfare Week is an outreach that provides opportunities for students to get access to the most up to date and relevant information and training to meet their needs (Personal, Academic, Housing, Employability, Finance, Legal Rights, Wellbeing, Health and, Safety).

In essence the message is, no matter the circumstance you are not alone, there are people and services that are here for you. Always remember, do not let anything take away your smile. Keep smiling 🙂 We are here to help!”

One of the volunteers representing the Law Clinic at the event, Kirstie Webb reflected:

“It was great to be able to represent the Law Clinic at the Strath Union’s inaugural welcome week. This gave us an invaluable opportunity to meet and interact with students who may not know about the Law Clinic’s work and the services we provide. Having a time where all the organisations and services are in one place is a fantastic idea that will hopefully enable students to access any information they may need.”

 

Distributing Access to Justice

A dedicated group of Law Clinic volunteers took to the streets to distribute University of Strathclyde Law Clinic leaflets.

 

At the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic we are always aiming to support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of society. This includes people who do not have access to the internet. By distributing leaflets to public locations in Glasgow and the surrounding area, we hope to raise awareness of the services the Law Clinic provides in order to help those who need our service the most.

The team targeted local libraries, Councillors offices and Advice Hub’s. The locations included the Mitchell Library, Glasgow City Hall, Townhead Health Centre, the University of Strathclyde’s Advice Hub among other venues.

 

University of Strathclyde Law Clinic Awards Success

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic was shortlisted for three awards over the closing months of 2018 with representatives of the Clinic attending the: Law Awards of Scotland, Evening Times Community Champions Grand Final and the Herald Society Awards.

 

The Herald Society Awards 2018

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic enjoyed a successful night at the tenth annual Herald Society Awards with the Law Clinic winning the “Team of the Year” Award.

(Representatives from the Law Clinic’ Executive Committee (James Anderson, Kirstie Webb, Ben Dickson, Victoria Silver, Kate Laverty and Becky Kane) receiving the Herald Society Team of the Year award)

The event took place on 1 November 2018 and was hosted at the Glasgow Marriot Hotel in Glasgow. Members of the Law Clinics Executive Committee represented the Law Clinic at the event, with Director Kate Laverty accepting the award on the Clinic’s behalf.

Beating out some stiff competition, the Law Clinic won the award for its work over the past year. The Law Clinic is made up of 268 Student volunteer members and over the course of 2017/18, was able to win or save its clients £125,464 assisting over 550 clients in the process.

 

The Law Awards of Scotland

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic received a commendation award in the Pro Bono category, for its provision of access to justice within Glasgow and surrounding areas over the past year.

(Student Director of University of Strathclyde Law Clinic James Anderson and representatives from Edinburgh University Free Legal Advice Service receiving commendation awards)

The awards, which took place on 29 November 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow, also saw success for other University Law Clinic’s/Projects. With Edinburgh University Free Legal Advice Service also receiving a commendation award in the category of Pro Bono and Glasgow Caledonian University Law Clinic winning the overall Pro Bono Award for 2018.

The event marked a fantastic celebration of Law Clinics from across Scotland, with representatives of each Law Clinic expressing excitement for the upcoming 2019 Scottish Universities Law Clinic Networking (SULCN) event, which will be hosted by Edinburgh Napier University.

 

University of Strathclyde Law Clinic Grand Finalists of the Glasgow Community Champion Awards.

On Tuesday 27 November 2018, a group of students and staff of the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic were invited to represent the clinic at the Glasgow Community Champion Grand Final Awards.

(All the winners from the Community Champion Glasgow Awards Grand Final 2018 gather for a group photograph)

The evening began with a buffet and a drinks reception which swiftly lead to an outstanding performance by Angela McCallum School of Music which opened the evening.

These awards honour members of the public within the Glasgow area that do outstanding work for their community. We would like to congratulate all prize winners for the incredible work they have accomplished within the Glasgow area and the prizes they won are a true reflection of the effort they put in to improving their community. While the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic were joint winners with Caledonian University Law Clinic of the Public Service Award at the North West Division Event, Royston Youth Action Group won the award at the Grand Final.

(Representatives from the University of Strathclyde’s Executive Committee (Jordan Hamlett, Ben Dickson, Gabriella Poli, Karen Yuill, James Anderson, Kirstie Webb, Scott Sharpe, Kieran Crossley) receiving the public service award)

Law Clinic Launches New Partnership

November 2018 marks the birth of a new partnership between the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic’s Welfare Project and St George’s Tron Church of Scotland.

The Clinic’s Welfare Project, reached out to the church’s minister, Alistair Duncan, who has been more than willing to accommodate the project within the church. St George’s church has various partnerships with humanitarian organisations including Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust.

The Welfare project has already run two introductory sessions on 21 and 28 November. In January 2019, the project will start running fortnightly triage sessions between 3:30pm and 4:30pm on a Wednesday at St George’s Church, 163 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2JX, for an initial six-month trial period.

Through these sessions, we hope to reach clients who are dealing with welfare benefit appeals. Our project will focus on those clients who are looking to appeal at Tribunal level. We will assist clients with preparation to self-represent at hearing, or in certain cases, we may represent clients.

The Welfare project will also be triaging clients with a range of legal issues and would therefore be able to refer clients to the Law Clinic for further advice and representation where appropriate.

Through this new location, the Welfare project aims to reach clients who would otherwise not know about or be able to access the Law Clinics services.

The Welfare Project Coordinator Kudakwashe Chinyani commented on the new partnership stating:

“All students involved are all excited to be making this step and we are grateful for the support of St George’s Tron Church.”

For monthly news updates regarding the Law Clinic, please sign up to our ‘stay in touch’ feature.

University of Strathclyde Law Clinic Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic recently celebrated its 15th year anniversary with an event on 15 November 2018.

From left to right: Student Director of the Law Clinic, Kirstie Webb; President of the Law Society of Scotland, Alison Atack; Student Director of the Law Clinic, James Anderson.

The event featured a variety of speakers, including:

  • Law Clinic Director Kate Laverty;
  • President of the Employment Tribunal (Scotland), Shona Simon;
  • President of the Law Society of Scotland, Alison Atack;
  • Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Strathclyde University, Professor Douglas Brodie; and
  • Trainee Solicitor and Law Clinic Alumni, Andrew Burns.

Speeches were followed by a brief opportunity for questions, before a drinks reception. During the reception interactive stalls displaying the work carried out by the Clinic were available.

These stalls were operated by student volunteers involved within various Law Clinic collaborations and projects, including the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC); The Immigration Unit; Online Advice Project; Initial Advice Centre; Public Legal Education Projects etc. More information regarding each of these projects can be found on the Law Clinic website.

Student Advisors from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

Student Director of the Strathclyde Law Clinic, James Anderson, reflected on the evening saying:

“The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic strives to increase access to justice in Scotland by providing pro bono legal services to those who are unable to access legal advice elsewhere. We are delighted to celebrate a successful 15 years of helping to meet these unmet legal needs, and we look forward with enthusiasm, to the next 15 years.”

Director of the Strathclyde Law Clinic, Kate Laverty, stated:

“We were delighted to be celebrating 15 years of the Law Clinic during which time we have helped almost 4,000 people. Our volunteer law students, past and present, should be proud of what they have achieved in that time. Their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm is inspiring. We hope to continue trying to improve access to justice in our Glasgow community and beyond for the foreseeable future.”

To keep up to date with all future Law Clinic news and updates for the next 15 years and beyond make sure to stay in touch.

Law Clinic Away Day 2018

 

On 10 August 2018 the Law Clinic held its annual away day at our director, Kate Laverty’s, house. The purpose of the away day is to discuss the aims of the clinic for the upcoming year.

All attendees took part in team building exercises, brainstorming ideas, debated how to improve existing processes and made important policy decisions, all aimed at continuing the success of the clinic.

The overall aim of the Law Clinic is to provide access to justice to those who would otherwise go without; with this in mind, we used this as a starting point for our discussions.

We analysed statistics gathered from both client and student feedback, focussing on changes we could make in order to maximise both the client and student experience when using/being involved in, the law clinic.

Following these reports, participants were split into two groups and were given a workshop based on a perennial issue faced by the Law Clinic. These issues encompassed a wide range of areas including: client feedback, external connections, funding and student experience.

Group 1 focussed on these areas in order to create a strategy for tackling any issues that had been raised.  For example, when reporting on client feedback we discussed which aspects of our service are the most important to the client. This raised a variety of answers including ongoing and transparent communication.

While Group 1 discussed the service we provide and the experience of our clients, Group 2 delved into the law clinics relationship with its student volunteers.  Discussion centred on the goal of ensuring that each student who volunteers in the law clinic has the best experience possible, so that when Student Volunteers depart the Law Clinic, they feel they have truly made a difference to the people in our community.

After concluding our group sessions, both groups took it in turns to present their conclusions. From these conclusions all attendees pooled everything together to create 9 key goals for the upcoming clinic year, called our Diamond 9. The Diamond 9 will shape the Law Clinics future direction and will be prevalent at the executive meetings where decisions are made. Decisions should be in keeping with these aims throughout the year ahead. Our nine key goals for 2018/19 are:

 

Law Clinic Success at Evening Times Community Champion Awards

 

 

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic enjoyed a successful night at the 11th edition of the Evening Times North West Community Champion Awards at Partick Burgh Hall. With Strathclyde Law Clinic jointly winning the “Public Services Award” alongside Glasgow Caledonian University Law Clinic.

Held on Tuesday 2nd October 2018, the Awards celebrate ordinary people who do extraordinary work in Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

Also nominated in the Public Services Award category was: Anne Marie Robertson Dryburgh, who has successfully run older people’s social project ‘Alive and Kicking’ for more than 30 years; And: Glasgow Caledonian Law Clinic, who have achieved fantastic success through the provision of access to justice within Glasgow.

This award is a testament to the tireless hard-work and dedication that all our student advisors put into their Law Clinic work. Helping to provide access to justice to members of the community who would otherwise go without.

 

 

 

 

Strathclyde Law Clinic shortlisted for Herald Society Award

We are delighted to announce that The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic has been shortlisted as a finalist in the category: Herald Society Team of the Year – for The Herald Society Awards 2018.

The awards will be presented at a formal awards dinner on the evening of Thursday, November 1, 2018.

Follow Strathclyde Law Clinic on social media by clicking the following links to keep up to date with all future news and updates:

A Day in the Life of a Summer Student – Emma Manson

Over the summer months I have been able to see the full extent of the fantastic work that the Law Clinic does on a daily basis. During term time it is easy to focus only on the cases you are personally involved in, however the summer placement has allowed me to see the full spectrum of cases that the clinic takes on.

Each day in the clinic is different but it is always guaranteed to be busy. The bulk of my day is spent on case work – normally student advisors would have one or two cases, however my case load has risen to nine to ensure cases don’t fall through the cracks during the summer, so there is certainly lots to do. I usually start my day by setting out which tasks I should prioritise for the day ahead, paying special attention to any urgent matters or clients who should be contacted. Even a well-planned day could be turned on its head at the arrival of a letter from a client, respondent or even the Employment Tribunal but this keeps every day interesting!

As this is my first year in the clinic, my summer placement has enabled me to become more familiar with all the clinic staff and dedicated student advisors. Sharing thoughts and opinions on cases has been a great way to improve and refine my work in the Law Clinic, make great friends and improve my ability to provide access to justice.

A Day In The Life Of A Summer Student

Summer Student – Rebecca Farquhar  

Every year the Law Clinic provides a group of students with the opportunity to work during the summer holidays. The Law Clinic supports clients throughout the year and it has been extremely rewarding to be able to ensure that clients continue to receive high quality support during the summer period.

As a summer student I have undertaken a variety of work and it has been an excellent opportunity to not only help clients with their legal concerns but also develop my skills in legal research. As part of the Housing Advice Under One Roof project, I have been one of the students responsible for researching the new Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and creating accessible resources on how to engage with this new remedies forum. I am also the new Initial Advice Clinic project manager and have spent time over the summer developing a strategy for the year ahead.

Helping to ensure that access to justice is a reality rather than only a theory was the reason that I wanted to pursue a career in the legal sphere and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that I have been given whilst being a member of the Law Clinic.