I was a member of the Clinic between 2009 and 2013. I relocated to Bristol recently for work and contacted Donald to ask how I could offer the Clinic practical support remotely. Following Donald’s unique brand of cajoling, I was persuaded to convert the compliments I was paid during that conversation into this article encouraging you to get involved in the Clinic’s work.
There are currently four ways to support the Clinic: – 1) donate money to help it pursue its goals; 2) volunteer at IACs; 3) use your specialist knowledge to advise on a particular project or give a training session; and 4) attend the Clinic’s social events. As described on Page 6 the Clinic is also piloting remote supervision of its Online Project but we need to await the outcome of this pilot.
There are various benefits to the various methods of supporting the Clinic. Most importantly, you will be helping to make a difference to the lives of individual clients. More selfishly, involvement at IACs or on other projects or training counts towards unaccredited CPD and gives you a chance to network with current Clinic members who will soon be colleagues, peers, instructing in-house counsel and advocates.
In terms of opportunities, two points can be made. First, the Clinic is diversifying. It still does tremendous work for individuals facing employment, landlord/tenant and consumer issues, but there is now also a Criminal Convictions Unit, an Online Unit allowing a more diverse range of cases to be addressed, a fledgling enterprise project aimed at small businesses, an Immigration Project and the Scottish Woman’s Rights Centre. This range will surely only increase because of the Clinic’s unprecedentedly large headcount. Consequently, there will be more synergy with what we, as alumni and supporters, do in our working lives. Secondly, consider the nature of these projects. The Clinic has always done invaluable work for individual clients and will continue to do so. Now, it is also developing the ability to address wider issues. You could be part of a Clinic that makes a positive difference to our society on a bigger scale than ever before. Seize the opportunity.