Miami Law Clinic Exchange

For the third year, the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic sent four students to the Health Rights Clinic at the Miami School of Law in Florida.

Ben Brown, Jennifer Rowlinson, Beth Kelly and Miranda Hughes all travelled to America to learn about access to justice and discover more about our sister clinic’s work across the Atlantic.

The Miami clinic deals with health rights as well as immigration work and the four students sat in on interviews with clients during their exchange. Beth Kelly stated that, “It was an eye-opening experience which highlighted the problems many Americans and immigrants have in obtaining medical care and assistance.” As well as sitting in on client interviews, the students took part in deciding which clients the Health Rights Clinic can take on. Beth described this as giving her an insight into the laws which govern welfare access and immigration opportunities in Florida. The four also saw work being carried out at the South Florida Aids Network. The SFAN provides advocacy for people with HIV/AIDs.

Ben stated that our clinics “differ markedly” from each other, but that “it was an interesting process to observe.” The Miami clinic only takes on 15 case advisors per academic year, and their level of supervision is more resource intensive than our model. Ben stated that this allowed him to study different approaches to securing access to justice for clients: “it taught us about a society with different problems, and allowed us to see a different way of working.” He noted that the Miami clinic’s approach towards vulnerable clients would provide a helpful example to some of our own work, such as the immigration project.

Ben said that the trip was informative as well as being good fun, and recommended it to other advisors within the clinic. Beth agreed, saying: “The exchange program was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I was very proud to be a part of.”

Professor Donald Nicolson OBE commented:

“It is very pleasing to see an exchange that was first put in place three years ago continue to go from strength to strength, producing an ever higher quality of new ideas to be used in the two clinics. As a Clinic with relatively limited resources, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the University of Strathclyde Law School, who cover the costs of this exchange and without whom it could not go ahead.”

You can read more here.

Law Clinic Student Advisor Receives National Recognition

Law Clinic Student Advisor Roisin Donnelly received national recognition for the contribution she has made to the Law Clinic at this year’s LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards. Roisin finished runner up in her category for Best Contribution by an Individual Student.

The award ceremony was held on Wednesday 26 April at the Houses of Parliament and was the eleventh annual LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards. The Awards celebrate the best pro bono activities undertaken by law students and law schools as well as the positive impact of those activities.

Commenting on her success, Roisin remarked:

It was an honour even to be shortlisted for the award, and particularly to be the only student shortlisted from Scotland! It would be difficult to pick a highlight of my time with the Law Clinic over the last five years, but hearing my name read out as Runner Up in recognition of my work with the Clinic, and against such excellent candidates, would certainly be at the top. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who wrote such lovely words for my nomination – reading those would alone have been enough reward.

It is really important that law students everywhere continue not to pass by those most in need. It was extremely inspiring to meet those from universities across the UK who attended the awards and to see the many ways in which Clinics continue to help those most in need.

 

New Supervisor for the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic

This month saw the latest addition to the Law Clinic team as Susan Fallone began her role as one of the Law Clinic’s Supervisors.

Prior to becoming a solicitor, Susan worked in the social security department for nearly thirteen years. During this time she also worked as an advocate for adults with dementia, training as a mediator at that time. She then worked as the In Court Adviser at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for over five years, where she provided legal advice and representation to unrepresented party litigants in a wide range of areas including defending against local authority eviction actions, landlord/tenant disputes, debt actions, and raising/defending small claims and summary cause actions.

Susan also worked for East End and Castlemilk Law Centres (covering criminal, housing, debt, employment, family law and social security tribunals), in private practice (covering criminal and family law) and finally in-house for local authorities (specialising in child law, but also covering other areas of work such as employment, education, housing, clerking committees, and acting as legal adviser to the adoption and fostering panel).

When not working at the Clinic, Susan will split her time between working as a safeguarder for children in Court and Children’s Hearing proceedings and as a Justice of the Peace in the summary criminal courts in Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Commenting on this appointment, Clinic Director Professor Donald Nicolson said:

“Susan will make an excellent addition to our current supervisory team and will help us maintain and enhance our services to the community. Welcome aboard Susan from all of us here at the Law Clinic.”

Resignation of Professor Donald Nicolson OBE

The Law Clinic is sad to announce that its founder and director, Professor Donald Nicolson OBE, will be leaving us in the coming months to take up a role at the University of Essex Law Clinic.

Donald joined Strathclyde in 2000, having previously  taught law at the Universities of Cape Town, Warwick, Reading and Bristol, where he set up the University of Bristol Law Clinic. In 2003, he would set the ball rolling on what would become the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, where over the years he would work tirelessly alongside students and staff to transform a grand ambition conceived of whilst sitting on the grass outside the Lord Hope building into a practical reality that serves hundreds of clients a year.

Over the course of nearly 15 years, Law Clinic students have benefitted from Donald’s faith in student involvement which has allowed remarkable results with a relatively limited budget. Donald leaves the Clinic with a sophisticated infrastructure that will allow it to carry on providing an extraordinary level of service in ever more innovative ways.

Donald remarked:

“I am extremely proud of the Clinic, but also extremely grateful to all the students, staff and supporters whose enthusiasm, initiative and dedication have ensured that the Clinic has been by far the greatest achievement of my professional career. I thank you all and hope that we will keep in touch once I leave Strathclyde in a few months.

Kate Laverty, Deputy Law Clinic Director added:

Donald leaving will be a change that is felt all through the Clinic. His experience in Law Clinics in the UK and in South Africa have made him the driving force behind the Law Clinic. He brings out the best in our student volunteers: entrusting them with positions of responsibility which allow the Clinic to benefit most from their volunteerist spirit. Beyond all else, Donald has been a great friend to many in the Clinic, and we sincerely hope that he will be no stranger!”

Student Advisors to Run for Funds

On 28 May 2017, three Student Advisors and one parent are going to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon to raise funds for the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

Student advisors Katrina Durie, Sean Iles and Rurai Peacock will all take part in the half-marathon with Melissa Jack’s father running in her place as she cannot make it. All funds raised will go to the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

The Half Marathon starts in London and Regent Road before passing by the Holyrood Palace. It then runs through Holyrood Park and onto Meadowbank Sports Stadium. It then turns north, along Lochend Road and Leith Links before reaching Portobello Promenade. The route then stretches along Musselburgh Road before reaching Musselburgh Racecourse. It goes a couple of miles further up Ravenheugh Road beyond the Prestongrange Mining Museum before looping around and heading back past Musselburgh. It then finishes in the playing fields at Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School.

Fundraising Officer Andrew Harding commented:

“It is great to see such enthusiasm for the Law Clinic from its members. I would like to say thank you to all of the runners for their efforts in this challenge. Any donations would be gratefully received, and will allow us to carry on with the Clinic’s efforts to boost access to justice in the local community and beyond.”

You can show your support for the runners by sponsoring them here:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/katrina-durie-1

Law Clinic Executive Committee 2017/2018

The recruitment of the Law Clinic’s 2017-2018 Executive Committee has now concluded. The Executive Committee is made up of the Student Directors, Fundraising Officer, Communications Officer, Training Officer, Project Managers and Firm Coordinators. The Committee will shape the direction for the Clinic for the year ahead and will begin in their roles on 1st June 2017.

With a vast number of high quality applicants for the different Committee positions, the competition was tough. Applications were received from students of all years, and a process of interviewing made the range and depth of experience students continue to bring to the Clinic very clear.

Commenting on the new Committee, Law Clinic Director Professor Donald Nicolson said:

“Students are a driving force behind everything we do at the Clinic. It is their ideas, hard work and dedication which makes the work of the Clinic possible, and the Executive Committee is at the heart of this. Our new committee will replace a very successful and cohesive team, and will no doubt build on their success. That we had so many applications speaks to the strength of the Clinic.

I look forward to working with the new Committee and I cannot wait to see how they drive the Clinic forward in the year ahead”

The new Executive Committee is made up of the following people:

  • Student Directors: Fergus Lawrie and Jacob Hay
  • Deputy Student Director: Nathan McHardy
  • Fundraising Officer: Gemma Nimmo
  • Communications Officer: Sean Iles
  • Training Officer: Roisin Flatman
  • IAC Coordinators: Laura Cheng and Kirstie Webb
  • Online Project Manager: Ben Brown
  • Deputy Online Project Manager: Hannah Wilson
  • CCU Project Manager: Scott Jenkins
  • Deputy CCU Project Manager: Elspeth Drysdale
  • SBLU Project Manager: Jenna McKinley
  • Deputy SBLU Project Manager: Scott Sharpe
  • Schools Project Manager: Karen Yuill
  • Deputy Schools Project Manager: Aisha Iqbal
  • Prisons Project Manager: Stephanie McCarron
  • Foodbanks and Benefits Project Manager: Sam Daniel
  • Deputy Foodbanks and Benefits Project Manager: Luke Light
  • Immigration Unit Coordinator: Hanan El-Atrash
  • SWRC Coordinator: Alice Bowman
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm A): Hannah Grace
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm B): Andrew Harding
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm C): Liam McKay
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm D): Scott O’Connor
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm E): Monika Koczwara
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm F): Alex Brock
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm G): Ewan Wilson
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm H): Beth Kelly

The Food Bank and Benefits Project

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic’s Food Bank and Benefits Project is a relatively new project which is currently in its pilot phase. The project aims to assist members of the community with benefits-related issues at drop-in sessions held regularly at Lodging House Mission (LHM). One of the project’s regular and dedicated volunteers, Sam Daniel, describes how the project impacts on both the clients it assists and the student advisors that volunteer on it. 

“I never quite know what to expect when I arrive at LHM as every day presents new challenges. On a typical day, the project involves finding accommodation for people that typically lack any official form of it. This is incredibly worthwhile and the difference that you can make to peoples’ lives is plain.

The people I have met on this project are particularly inspiring, somehow managing to persevere with the bravest of faces in times of true and evident hardship. Clients have shared some incredible stories with me, and it is these humbling stories that motivate me to continue this work for them and achieve the best possible outcome. There is not always an easy fix for our clients’ problems, but being able to support them through the process is why I think this project is invaluable. Every time I volunteer I can help towards securing a client a roof to sleep under — something which may not otherwise have happened.”

Special IAC to Mark the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow Library’s Bicentenary

The Law Clinic is delighted to announce that a special additional IAC session will take place on the 14th June 2017 to mark the bicentenary of the RFPG Library in Glasgow.

The Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow is a body which was incorporated prior to 1668 and continues to serve the needs of the legal profession in Glasgow and West Central Scotland. Providing members with access to a large law library with significant holdings, a well regarded CPD education programme, the services of an auditor and a venue in the city centre for a wide variety of events.

The Royal Faculty of Procurators also acts as a representative body for solicitors practicing in the Glasgow area.

To mark the RFPG library’s bicentenary, it will accommodate a special IAC event. Members of public who cannot afford a solicitor but who have a legal problem can attend this event to get some information to help resolve their issue. The event will be staffed by volunteer solicitors and trainee solicitors, and run from 6pm to 7.30pm.

We cannot deal with every legal issue but we do regularly deal with enquiries in the following areas:

  • Consumer Protection (defective goods and services)
  • Housing Issues (relating to tenancy agreements; factors and management companies)
  • Small Claims (pursuing money which is owed to you or defending an action where someone is claiming against you)
  • Employment Issues (claims for unfair/constructive dismissal)

If you are a solicitor and are interested in attending this session, or other IACs, please do get in touch.