Each summer, we welcome a small number of student advisors to complete 12 weeks paid work as ‘Summer Students’, plugging the gap in our services left by our advisors spreading across the globe for home, travel and other opportunities over summer. Now we are at the end of this period, some of our summer students have taken the time to reflect on their time in the role, and share their experiences with you all, our clinic community.
What kind of tasks are involved in the role?
In the summer role, tasks varied from day to day and I was working between Immigration, Housing, Employment, SSSC and Consumer cases. The workload increased in the Summer Student Advisor role but it is definitely worth the challenge as I have developed my knowledge further in the legal field as well as improved my skills. At the end of this role, I had been assigned 10 new cases at around the same time which was quite demanding but manageable.
My tasks included speaking to clients on the phone, responding to emails from other parties, preparing bundles and attending tribunal case management discussions and hearings, meeting with clients, planning the Asylum project for the year, researching legal issues and supporting other student advisors. Those tasks are very similar during the year being the difference that you have more opportunities to work on them during the summer.
I had been (and still am) working on an employment discrimination case. This brought about my first opportunity to attend a preliminary hearing case management discussion at the Employment Tribunal. Quite nerve-racking, as it turns out, as I was lead representation without having attended a PH before. However, with a kind judge and fair degree over over-preparedness on my part, all went as planned – phew! Both myself and co-advisor on the case got a real buzz that day, feeling as though we were involved in the real legal world (which we were of course!) and more importantly that we had represented our clients’ interests well. This experience was certainly a great introduction to the type of work that students can do in the clinic. Real cases and real representation! This, plus an earlier case which I co-advised on, meant that I was eligible to apply for one of the summer student roles this year. I had the time and lived locally so it was a no-brainer – I was definitely going to apply!
Any Other Opportunities?
This summer, alongside my casework, I was assigned to create resources to aid those who are involved in an investigation by the SSSC. I have worked alongside my co-advisor to create informative PowerPoint presentations which can be used by workers and advisors alike. We also got the opportunity to speak to a solicitor at UnionLine about the practical application of the SSSC guidelines, which helped us better understand how these rules are used in real-life situations.
What have you taken away from the experience?
Overall, my summer at the Law Clinic has been a really good experience. I have gained more confidence from this role, met some new friends, gained good teamworking skills, developed my legal research skills and much more. I am grateful to have been given this opportunity and would strongly encourage other Clinic students to get involved next summer. Having my supervisors and Diane there has benefited me a lot as they have supported me this full summer and I have learnt a lot from them in how a Law Clinic is run.
We are hosting an event on campus to celebrate our 20th Anniversary on the 21st September 2023. This will provide an opportunity for past and present advisors and friends of the clinic to come together and discuss the issues facing access to justice in our main practice areas: employment, regulation of social service workers and immigration. You can sign-up via the link below: