Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre & Law for Forces

In a series: Westfield Fund 2016
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Two Westfield Fund 2016 projects at the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre

Frances Ridout, School of Law

The Legal Advice Centre (LAC) was granted two Westfield Fund awards in 2016:

  1. Large award of £25,000 for a full time LAC Administrator.
  2. Small award of £5,000 for a Law for Forces Administrator (38 days of work).

Legal Advice Centre Administrator

The Westfield large award was awarded ultimately to enable the LAC to offer more student opportunities.  In the application form it was submitted; “If the new post allows us to engage over 130 QM students in the LAC client work without compromising the quality of the student experience then the post will have been a success”.  In addition, the LAC processes a large number of client enquiries.  It had become unfeasible for one member of staff to manage this alone. An aim of the post was to enable client enquiries to be dealt with in a timely manner which ensured the reputation of the LAC was not compromised. This in turn ensures the LAC can keep running and therefore provide student experiences.

Outcomes of the funding:

Students:

In the academic year 2016-17 the Legal Advice Centre engaged students as follows;

  • Student Adviser (extra-curricular): 51
  • Student Adviser (module): 24
  • Support Team: 15
  • SPITE for Schools: 12
  • City of London Appeals Clinic: 35
  • First year Note Takers: 24

Student engagement in client work 2016-17 = 161 students

Law for Forces

The Law For Forces project is a specific clinic which engages Students Advisers giving 1-2-1 legal advice to current members of the armed forces, and those who have previously served or their families. Students are supervised by solicitors from Simmons and Simmons.  The one day a week administrator role was advertised on two separate occasions.  Unfortunately a suitable candidate could not be found on either occasion.  During the time that the role was advertised LAC staff started to work on promoting the project with a law student who was a member of the Reserves and had excellent knowledge and contacts within the armed forces.  When a suitable candidate for the role could not be found we re-distributed the hours and gave additional hours and responsibility to a current part time member of LAC staff.  This member of staff worked with the student and drew from his knowledge and experience to complete a number of tasks.  Despite the initial challenge of being unable to suitably recruit for the role, the solution proved very effective – the student provided the knowledge and some administration assistance and the member of staff was able to do more administration and guide the work.

 

View the full project reports or click to enlarge conference poster below:

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