In order to ensure that the Clinic can run at full capacity during the university holiday period, we hire a number of part time ‘Summer Students’ to staff the Clinic. These students are typically funded through one of our partnerships or by one of the law firms that support the Clinic. This year we have been able to hire thirteen summer students, thanks in part to the support of the University’s Alumni Fund, the Refugee Survival Trust, David Stirling and the Scottish Women’s Right Centre.
In the latest in a series of articles written by our Summer Students, Ben Brown describes a typical day.
Being a summer student can be challenging when trying to balance commitments, but is extremely satisfying.
I spend most of my time responding to online queries, as I am the Online Project Co-Ordinator. It is my responsibility to ensure that all online case enquiries are distributed amongst advisors and are dealt with as efficiently as possible. We aim to respond to clients within fifteen working days (even during summer), so the response timetable can be quite tight. Advisors carry out the legal research which is then checked by our supervision team. The project is vital in letting us stream our services and I am proud to be responsible for it. It lets us help people by giving them the legal information they need, even if they are far away. I’m fortunate to have my deputy, Hannah Wilson, who provides a great deal of support.
Alongside responding to online enquiries, I have spent the summer dealing with a wide range of issues as a summer case worker. I have advised clients on employment, housing and consumer issues. I think that direct client contact and advice and representation is at the core of what we do, and it is a real privilege to continue helping with this over the summer break. It has given me the opportunity to work independently, as well as a team, and has been a fantastic learning experience. Summer students are a tight knit group, and we are great at sharing knowledge and expertise and generally helping each other out.
Continuing the Clinic’s work over summer is a real honour and a pleasure.