Law students give their time to those in need
It’s national pro bono week, celebrating and supporting the contribution made by lawyers across the country in giving free advice to those in need.
And despite lockdown, students from the University of Salford have been doing their part to help people with legal problems.
Law students from Salford Business School have been working on pro bono projects throughout the year, including the ‘SILKS’ (Salford Information and Legal Knowledge Scheme) Law Clinic, a free legal service for the local community. The work continued despite lockdown, with consultations taking place virtually.
SILKS, which offers advice on matters such as housing problems or family law, is run by qualified lawyers with support from University of Salford students. The students are closely supervised by qualified solicitors from the University of Salford and partner law firms Fieldings Porter and Ward Hadaway.
The students, who worked at the clinic while studying for their degrees, undertook key roles in the clinic like providing information and guidance on Employment Tribunal procedure to people without legal representation and giving legal advice to clients in difficult times in their lives, such as going through a divorce or facing the prospect of homelessness.
And the SILKS Pro Bono Awards were awarded for the first time this year. They are awarded at graduation to exceptional level 6 students from any of the law programmes who participated in one or more of the pro bono projects offered under the SILKS umbrella in their last year of study.
Dr Michelle Waite, Lecturer in Law from Salford Business School, commented: "Pro bono work is a vital part of the legal profession, helping people who are in need and can’t afford legal fees. And it is an important part of the students experience when studying law at Salford, it provides vital real world experience, as well as helping those who need it most.
“Awarding the prizes was extraordinarily difficult because so many of the students who volunteered for our pro bono projects last year stood out in one way or another. Consequently, when awarding the prizes we were looking for students who had been exceptional in a variety of ways including commitment, reliability, engagement, personal development, and showing initiative."
This year the awards were sponsored by Fieldings Porter solicitors who generously donated the prize money for all four winners. Fieldings Porter are one of the Business School's partner firms who give their time and expertise to support the family law advice delivered through the Law Clinic.
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