The Scottish Women’s Right Centre and my time as a summer student

(Erin Connor, Summer Student and SWRC Coordinator 2021/22)

SWRC Coordinator and Summer Student, Erin Connor, talks about the work she and other advisors undertake for the collaborative project, the SWRC, and her time as a summer student for the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

Summer 2021 marks my second year as a summer student, and the second year carrying out my role remotely! Having thoroughly enjoyed being a summer student last year, I was keen to be part of the team again this summer.

As the volunteer coordinator for the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC), the majority of my day is spent on work for this project. The SWRC is a collaborative project providing free legal information, advice, representation and advocacy support to self-identifying women in Scotland affected by violence and abuse. The SWRC is a partnership project between Rape Crisis Scotland, the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic and JustRight Scotland. During term time, I am a part of a team of Clinic student advisors who assist solicitors with casework, legal research and administrative support. Therefore, my role as this years SWRC summer student, is to continue this work throughout the summer.

As all the summer students are currently working remotely, JustRight Scotland have kindly provided me with a work laptop to use over the summer to allow me to assist with casework. Working for the SWRC has not only been incredibly rewarding as I am helping the solicitors to assist women in need, but very beneficial to my studies as well. In addition to carrying out legal research and casework, I have been exposed to various court documents such as defences and summons which has greatly improved my understanding of different court processes. I have also gained an understanding of the process involved in an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and assisted with research for a response to a Scottish Government Consultation among many other things. I have even assisted the SWRC solicitor to pull together my first sizeable court bundle – which, as all Clinic students know, required a lot of time getting to grips with Adobe! JustRight Scotland and the SWRC have been immensely supportive, and it has been a great experience to work with them for the summer.

One of my favourite things about being a summer student is the Clinic environment. Although I have missed being in the office and seeing my fellow advisors in person, the positive atmosphere has been replicated remotely. Despite working primarily with the SWRC, I have still felt connected to the Law Clinic. We have daily team meetings with the students that are working that day, allowing us to provide an update on our capacity and workload and any personal updates as well. In addition to this, the Clinic have held virtual coffee breaks throughout the week for students to meet to catch up which is a great opportunity to meet other Clinic students. These interactions allow us to feel like we’re still working in a team, even though we are physically apart.

Through my role as a summer student, not only have I learnt many new legal skills, but I have been able to have a conversation with and get to know some of the Law Clinic team that I wouldn’t have otherwise and fostered some new friendships. I would encourage any student who wants to develop their skills in a positive and friendly environment to apply!

Erin Connor, SWRC Coordinator 2021/22

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