Justice in Action: Personal Support Unit and Me by Paula Virlan

Former ‘Justice in Action’ student Paula Virlan shares some of her journal posts written when volunteering for the Personal Support Unit ( now renamed ‘Support Through Court – https://www.supportthroughcourt.org/)

In November 2018, I completed my first shadowing session with the Personal Support Unit (PSU), part of the Justice in Action module offered by the Open University. After working ten days, I can share some of the roller-coaster of experiences and how PSU is helping me grow and develop professionally.

Extract 1. 8th/02/ 2019

Today I had a rather aggressive client. He was making a small money claim. He was very angry and started shouting. I kept calm and silent – not to fuel his anger. He calmed down after I handed him the form. In retrospect I should have offered a glass of water and reassured him. In the future I plan to say “I can understand your anger no one wants to be out of pocket. I am sure that the court will deal with your issue accordingly and if you need any more help we will be here”.

Extract 2. 9th/03/2019

A client needed help with a C100 form – ‘Apply for a court order to make arrangements for a child or resolve a dispute about their upbringing’. We discussed his case and what are his ultimate goals. He asked me to fill in the form for him. He insisted I do it because I probably write better than him. I politely informed him we only do so if clients are illiterate and even then, only taking their dictation. I also explained that this was a rule of conduct of the PSU which I was not able to break.

Extract 3. 12th /03/2019

A N9 ‘acknowledgement of service’ form for rental accommodation debt needed a response. Our client’s written English was very poor. I read out loud and explained all the questions on the form. I then wrote down her answers and she thanked me multiple times. Helping her was effortless but I see how much it meant for her. I realise that support of any kind, no matter how small, can help someone cope with a difficult situation. Now, I can better appreciate how important it is that everyone, regardless of nationality or knowledge, have access to justice.

Other clients have cried, some needed to be listened to. I need to improve how I comfort them. I will acknowledge their efforts more. Encourage them to see their applications through. Remind them that the court will deal with their issue according to the law. Win or lose, their present situation will end, and they will be able to move on. excellent reflection

Different activities, such as a cake sale has got me baking for the first time. I therefore helped raise funds for the PSU. This will enable us to carry out all the important work we do across the country.

PSU helped me use, develop, and identify skills I need to refine whilst upholding the legal values and ethics that we share. These experiences helped me see the importance of access to justice for all. I will keep volunteering with the PSU. I would recommend it to any fellow student.

The Pros of Pro Bono by Catherine Martin

Former ‘Justice in Action’ student Catherine Martin writes about some of her realisations when undertaking our mediation project earlier this year.

Prior to embarking on my Open Justice mediation project, I was sceptical about lawyers’ motivations for carrying out pro bono work. I thought Pro bono lawyers fell into two categories: immigration and human rights lawyers with “a calling” and those that carried out pro bono just for career advancement. When preparing my first TMA, I wrote the following Open Justice Portfolio entry:

“Pro bono is a quid pro quo, where lawyers bail the government out of the access to justice crisis. In return, lawyers get something nice to put on their C.V.”

 Having now carried out a pro bono employment mediation for Open Justice, I can see that, to the lawyer, the value of pro bono runs deeper than just career advancement. I personally developed much greater self-awareness because of my pro bono work. As a result of practising active listening, I am now much less likely to butt in when someone else is speaking – a terrible habit I attribute to growing up in a large family!

Undoubtedly, my organisational skills have improved too. Aligning my calendar with those of my mediation partners, my employer, and my friends and family has resulted in me becoming an avid to-do-lister. I’ve seen increased productivity in my working life and even an improvement in my daily routine. Gone are the days of a lie-in.

I also had preconceptions about the remit of pro bono. Although legal aid has been removed for the majority of civil law cases, I still believed that pro bono’s real value lay in cases involving immigration and human rights, not in employment law.

Whilst helping me practise for my mediation, my mother (who is a lay judge in the Industrial Court) told me that employment tribunals used to be nicknamed “the working man’s court” as individuals would often represent themselves. However, these days, the process is much more formal, with legal submissions being called for by the judge at the end. The “working man’s court” is now inhabited by barristers. I began to see how valuable pro bono services could be in an employment situation, where a person’s livelihood was at stake.

“Increased formality of employment tribunals and the removal of legal aid means that pro bono legal services are vital to those who can’t afford representation. Particularly as the client may be worried about money due to being off work or being sacked.”

Pro bono mediation services can prevent employees from ever needing to go to an employment tribunal. Failing that, pro bono legal representation can help to even the playing field between employers and employees in an employment tribunal.

And so, I concede that I started my Open  Justice activities with misguided preconceptions surrounding pro bono. However, I can now attest that the value of pro bono lies not only in its ability to provide access to justice in a wide variety of circumstances (employment law, consumer advice, educating the public etc.,) but also, in the personal and legal development of the lawyer.

The Value of Pro Bono Work by Nicola Bradford

Former W360 ‘Justice in Action’ student Nicola Bradford writes about her experience of working on our prison project and the new insights this gave her.

Before I started the Open Justice module, I thought I knew what completing pro bono work meant. After all, television programs such as The Good Wife and Suits have portrayed pro-bono work as the ‘free legal work that no-one wants to do’ and “how we as a firm show that we care about more than just ourselves” (Suits, 2011). I knew that it wouldn’t be exactly the same, as these are fictional American programs however, I’ll admit that I naively thought that the only thing I was going to gain from this experience was the ability to put into practice some of the skills I’ve been developing over the last three years.

For my pro bono activities, I was able to visit Oakwood Prison to present to a group of peer mentors. Before the visit, our group researched and prepared a presentation on how ‘social media is fueling gang violence’. My part of the presentation was to research the topic from an American perspective. Most of my research was centralized to Chicago due to the high gang activity in this State. In some areas, I felt that the prisoners gained a lot of information. However, I felt that in some of the discussions we had with the prisoners, I learnt much more from them than I did in the two weeks prior through my own research.

I really enjoyed this visit, as we got a bit of insight into what life was like for individuals in prison. We had a short tour, which included the ‘enhanced wing’ where the prisoners who have good behaviour, such as the peer mentors, are housed. My perception of prisons has also been what is portrayed in the media. It seems silly, but I was shocked to see that the prisoners had doors rather than bars on their cells and access to games consoles.

The prisoners were also very insightful on how they think prison has affected them personally and their families and asked for us to research this topic more for the next visit. I think the visit was beneficial for both myself and the prisoners

I think I’ve learnt a lot more from this experience than I was expecting to. I now know that Pro bono work is much more than free work to promote the image of an individual or firm. It gives people access to the justice they deserve but do not have the power or means to seek themselves. Pro bono work has changed my perspective on the prison life and prisoners. Unfortunately, our group experienced issues with our activities as ( due to issues at the prison) the visits were cancelled multiple times. However, as a group I think we have been understanding of the issues and are now looking forward to the rescheduled visits at HMP Dovegate. I think this experience has given me more drive to do more pro bono work in the future as I’ve now seen the benefits it brings.

Thoughts from three months of volunteering at Citizens Advice by Daniel Doody

Final-year OU law student Daniel Doody discusses his experience of volunteering at Citizens Advice whilst studying W360: Justice in Action

When choosing the modules for this last year of my law degree, saying my eyes lit up for the pro bono work is an understatement. My personal reasoning for taking a law degree and essentially switching careers was mainly driven by the enjoyment of helping those around me. I found that I was a ‘go-to’ for advice in my circle of family and friends, with problems often relating to ‘how do I go about getting my money back for this’ or ‘can you write me a letter about ….’ . Now these may on the surface seem trivial but to ensure a positive outcome I always found it best to do some digging. This often left me looking company policies or what the law may say about a particular thing, then attempting to get knowledge to the best of my (then) abilities. One may call it a light-bulb moment.

Six years on from that moment I find myself working as a volunteer at my local citizens advice (CA), undertaking training to do what I’ve done countless times with friends and family, but in a methodical and far more professional way. It is only now in this final year and with a placement in CA that I can see the skills learnt over the past years finally coming to fruition, I shall go into some detail further in this blog in the months ahead.

What I have come to learn very quickly is that people who attend CA tend to fall into regular users of the service or they are aware of CA but don’t know what we do. It is well worth ten minutes of anyone’s time just having a look at the CA website and there you will see an encyclopedia of advice for all sorts of issues anyone may come across at anytime in their life! But it’s not just about giving people advice on common problems such as debt, benefits, housing etc. –  it’s about making them heard if they have a grievance and feel they may be listened to, it’s about supporting them when they may need the support (for example an employment tribunal), but the one thing I find it’s about is making them empowered and letting them know that regardless of the problem there’s always a solution.

Assisting clients isn’t as simple as just searching the internet and showing them what the answer is, to be a skilled advisor and giving the correct advice is about unpicking the information the client gives you and ascertaining what the problem is. A client may be seeking advice on how to change jobs, but after speaking with the client you may find out that the reason for them changing jobs is due to discrimination. Each problem isn’t always as clear cut as it seems, asking the right questions helps you understand the whole picture, pulling out the facts of the case and getting a detailed picture of the situation allows you to give the client the best options available to them. Skills learnt through my OU assignments have been really helpful! Be warned though – real life is not as clear as OU assessments when it comes to getting the facts that the client presents, a skill I am learning at a rapid pace!

So, 3 months into the service and it’s fair to say the training the CA give is extensive, but thorough, the majority being self-studied – something I am now well practiced in! There are small mini assessments at each stage so the training supervisor can check your progress, but it is all very relaxed and allows you to feel comfortable in learning at your pace and giving you a solid grounding in preparation for assisting those whom enter CA for assistance. Support is all around for every step of the process and by this stage of your studies I have found that you already have the skills in your toolbelt to look for the case facts and present some lawful advice and support the client has asked for. Mind you, the advice you offer isn’t always what they may want to hear or undertake! I’m fairly sure too, that by three months you will have the bug and be itching to help on every case you hear !!

 

Professor Suzanne Rab, OU Law Associate Lecturer, finalist for Inspirational Women in Law Awards

Professor Suzanne Rab OU Law Associate lecturer has been selected as one of the six finalists for the Inspirational Women in Law Awards, in the Barrister of the Year category.

Further information on the Celebrating 100 Women in Law initiative can be found here:

The award ceremony was held on the 19th November at 5pm at County Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 7GP. 

 

OU Associate Lecturer Professor Suzanne Rab combiners her role as an Associate Lecturer with the OU (on W102 and W330) with working full time as a barrister at Serle Court Chambers in London, being Professor of Commercial Law and Practice Chair at Brunel University and serving as a non-executive Board member of the Legal Aid Agency which dispenses civil and criminal legal aid.  

 When asked what it means to be a role model Suzanne Rab said:

“We all need to have big dreams.  To realise these aspirations, we need role models or someone we aspire to be like, or who can motivate us.  The greatest advancements for human beings have been framed in terms of reaching to the sky and having dreams and Martin Luther King as a role model comes to mind. 

 A role model does not need to be a public figure.  My father remains my greatest inspiration and role model.  As a child I saw him juggling two jobs, in the mornings as an accountant and in the evenings as a factory-hand, making fibre-glass baths.  He inspired me to pursue what he regarded as a ‘noble’ profession – the practice of law.  It was synonymous with making a difference; with changing things for the better for ordinary people; and with giving a voice to those who cannot or cannot afford to speak in their own cause.  I knew him only for a short while since he passed away when I was eight years old but his encouragement that I would one day become a barrister proved strangely prophetic.

There are challenges to confront in terms of access to and progression through the legal profession.  It is very competitive.  You have to distinguish yourself from others who are equally well qualified.  People who have navigated these challenges have a real responsibility in not forgetting where they came from and inspiring the next generation.  They can be good role models. 

My work ethic has been instilled in me from my parents and educators.  I see many people who are talented but they gave up along the way.  Role models encourage people to not give up. They provide an exemplar of how to be the best you can be.”

 

 

 

 

 

Privacy, misinformation and competition in the social media age – Professor Suzanne Rab, OU Law Associate Lecturer, interviewed by BBC

National pro bono week  2019 provides a great opportunity to celebrate the depth and breadth of the public engagement projects developed by the Open Justice Centre. Applied technology is often at the heart of these projects. Our Digital Justice project is working to harness the potential of smartphone technology for public legal information purposes, our Open Justice Advice Clinic provides access to online legal advice and the law on social media use is often a popular topic in our Street Law programme.

OU Associate Lecturer Professor Suzanne Rab is often asked to comment on legal aspects of technologies such as social media. Suzanne combiners her role as an Associate Lecturer with the OU (on W102 and W330) with working full time as a barrister at Serle Court Chambers in London, being Professor of Commercial Law and Practice Chair at Brunel University and serving as a non-executive Board member of the Legal Aid Agency which dispenses civil and criminal legal aid.   

She was recently asked by the BBC to comment on the issue of whether existing regulation is adequate to make social media companies take more responsibility against a background of  concerns over privacy, misinformation and competition.

She said that,

‘In the wake of Facebook’s latest results announcement, it is clear that negative publicity and regulatory attention has not affected its growth, whether in terms of subscriber numbers, revenues or profits. 

The truth is that even though comparisons have been made with monopolies of the past, the world has not yet seen anything quite like the social media phenomenon where Facebook alone interacts with one in three people across the globe.  This has prompted calls for tougher regulation and even break-up.  However, passing laws to make social media companies police the internet brings with it other concerns.  Let’s not be deluded that any law that orders a company to remove unacceptable content will face objections from proponents of free speech. Where the court making the judgment is from a country where the rule of law is cherished, we might not object.   But that cannot be said of all regimes globally who want to take proactive steps to counter what they perceive is objectionable content.’

Please click here for a link to the full interview broadcast on BBC Business News on 31 October 2019.

Another half century: Hong Kong Law School at 50 by Francine Ryan

Francine Ryan reports on her experience of being invited to address an international legal education conference celebrating 50 years of HK Law School

The Open University isn’t alone in marking its 50 year anniversary. Hong Kong Law School has reached the same milestone and, to celebrate, they organised an international conference exploring cutting edge approaches to legal education from around the world. The conference was titled Experiential Learning and Innovations in Legal Education and provided a platform for academics working to shape the future of legal education, to share ideas and develop new projects.

The Open Justice Centre is gaining an international reputation for using technology to provide innovative ways of embedding experiential learning into the legal curriculum. In recognition of this, I was invited to  take part in the conference and present my empirical research findings on the impact of our award-winning online advice clinic.

The conference focused on the importance of encouraging students to ‘learn by doing’ through embedding learning within real-world contexts. It showcased the growing number of innovative projects being developed that are responding to the disruption brought about by rapid technological change.  The conference discussed how law schools are facilitating the development of practical legal activities to help students gain knowledge of the law, but also understand how the law works in practice and in doing so encouraging students to help real people with real legal problems.

The shift from the physical space to the virtual space is impacting on the delivery of legal services. In my presentation,  I shared how The Open University is pioneering the use of technology through the development of the Open Justice ‘virtual’ clinic. The advancement of technology is going to require workers to have new skills and capabilities to respond to new models of working. The Institute for the Future argues all future workers will require technological competence and the ability to work as part of a virtual team. The clinic offers students the opportunity to become familiar with using technology and learn how to collaborate online. Working in the clinic helps students develop the knowledge and skills required in a digital age.

But the clinic goes beyond helping our students develop the skills required for modern legal practice, it serves to build a bridge between law students and their communities to support legal empowerment, by helping clients to know, and use the law to resolve their problems. In the clinic, students have the opportunity to engage with complex legal problems and access to justice issues. The clinic serves a ‘virtual’ community empowering anyone with an internet connection to access the clinic. The clinic uses technology as a transformative tool to reach those clients who are unable to access to legal advice because they cannot attend face to face legal clinics.

The conference showcased how universities across the world are engaging in developing practical pro bono activities to enhance access to justice. Through these programs they are inculcating a commitment to the professional value of providing pro bono services. The range of examples included collaborations between charities and the free advice sector to develop online tools to empower communities whose voices are denied and marginalised. Technology has the power to democratise legal information, knowledge and advice and has the potential to contribute to the solution to the crisis in access to justice.

The conference was organised as part of the HKU Law School’s 50th birthday celebration. As well as delegates attending in person the conference was also live streamed to Sun Yat-sen University in China, demonstrating the power of technology to bring together communities across the world. The opportunity to share and discuss how law schools can continue to innovate to encourage students to learn by doing but also to respond to the growing issue of unmet legal need was invaluable. I have learned so much through attending the conference- I have brought back some new ideas that can shape the further development of the Open Justice Centre.

Open Justice & Middlesex University Street Law Weekend – two blog posts by Elizabeth Walker and Laurie-Elizabeth Ketley

In October 2019 the Open Justice Centre and Middlesex University ran their second joint Student Street Law conference.  Twenty OU students worked with the same number of Middlesex students from Friday evening to Sunday tea time. They were introduced to the interactive teaching methodology that underpins the Street Law approach to public legal education and learnt how to create their own sessions.  The OU students were studying W360 (Justice in Action) or were members of the OU Law Society. 

Street law is one form of public legal education (PLE).  The premise underpinning PLE is that people who have even a basic understanding of their legal rights and duties, the way the legal system works and how to access legal advice will be better able to identify and resolve the legal problems they may encounter in the future. Street involves facilitating an interactive and participatory workshop on a legal topic to members of the public.  Students usually work with a small group together to facilitate a workshop to a group of secondary school pupils or a community group on a given legal topic of interest and relevance to them.

If you want to find out more about street law, please see the Open Justice website.  If you are an OU student, you can also attend out pro bono online event on street law on Thursday 7 November, 7 – 8pm in the Student Experience room on the Law Home Study website.  Level 3 OU law students can volunteer to take part in the street law project, run in partnership between the Open Justice centre and the OU Law Society, through either the Open Justice website or the OU Law Society website

A Pleasant Surprise – Attending The Street Law Conference by Elizabeth Walker

I first heard about the Street Law workshop during one of our law society meetings. When I was given an opportunity to attend I didn’t really think much of what the workshop would involve and simply was thinking it could add to extra skills when applying for the Bar Training Course next year. I had previously taken part in a school Street Law project with the OU, so I felt fairly confident in what the content of the workshop would cover.

As the workshop grew closer I decided to do a little more research on Richard Roe, the Professor from Georgetown University who would be attending. I soon realised that he had dedicated much of his professional life developing Street Law in a number of different countries and read how it had helped a number of communities. This got me thinking that maybe the workshop would be more beneficial than I first thought.

We got the schedule for the weekend around a week before the event, and when looking through it I could see it was going to be jam packed. Many of the activities in the schedule seemed to be highly interactive and though I feel I’m a confident person, I did wonder if I would feel comfortable to be able to fully engage with the activities in front of a number of other students from different universities.

I went into the Friday evening session with an open mind and I was even more pleasantly surprised than I thought. The lecturers running the workshop instantly made everyone feel welcome by getting everyone up and involved straight away. It was also a nice change being able to socialise with other OU students as this is a rare opportunity when studying with a distance university. It was especially useful as most of us were final year students and it was interesting to hear everyone’s aspirations once they completed their degree.

I was surprised to find that the weekend was heavily based on teaching techniques. However, after putting this into practice over the weekend, it has made me realise that these techniques can assist me with my remaining studies with the OU. It has helped me gain further confidence which I hope will assist with next year when furthering my studies.

Though I had already done a school Street Law project last year, I now wish to get involved with even more. One reason why I wanted to study law was to gain knowledge and apply it to help others that were not in the position to do so and street law gives you that very opportunity. The weekend also gave me the opportunity to see that there is more to teaching and that this could also be an option for in the future.

Following the weekend I decided to contact Richard Roe to again express my gratitude for all he did. He instantly responded with a number of reading materials and an invite to his next workshop later in the year on mock trials. His passion for this area of law is refreshing and inspiring to see. Overall, I couldn’t recommend the Street Law workshop more! I’ll be back next year for sure.

Elizabeth Walker – OU law student and member of OU Law Society

Where do I start with the Open Justice/Middlesex University Street Law Conference Weekend?!

It was absolutely fantastic from beginning to end! It started off a bit nerve-wracking as any situation you are in does, where you don’t know anyone and are there pretty much on your own. We were sat alongside students from Middlesex university, so that if we did know other people, we couldn’t bask in the comfort of being sat alongside them.

We were then given a task to talk to the person next to you, I know, the horror of it…to actually talk and interact with a stranger?! ….and that was it. The weekend propelled into one huge success.

Every single technique, challenge, task and initiative were carefully constructed to bring the most out of any given individual. To explore new ideas and to help increase engagement with the theory behind the weekend being Talk Less, Teach More! It made me want to be involved and massively helped with my confidence. To know that you were not going to be ridiculed should your answer be wrong was impossible, as no answer was deemed as wrong.

I am honestly so excited to go forward and use the skills I have learnt from the most incredible teachers, that will hopefully help me grow and develop as a person, alongside hopefully helping me to one day do the teaching. I am so grateful of the opportunity that the Open Justice team have given me and I am excited to hopefully do more alongside them and with them in the future!

Laurie-Elizabeth Ketley – OU law student and member of OU Law Society

 

Should pro bono be mandatory? by Lucy Pettinger

In this guest post, Lucy Pettinger, a current Open Justice student, tackles the issue of whether or not UK lawyers should be obliged to offer their services for free to some clients. She makes a strong case that although pro bono should be promoted, much would be lost if it were made compulsory.

Pro bono or pro bono publico can be translated from the Latin as ‘for the public good’, a service donated most often on a voluntary basis. The act of volunteering comes from a place of passion, empathy and good will, so making it compulsory may go against this essence and undermine the enthusiasm and passion that comes with volunteering. Moreover, those who do not believe in it may show dispassion and lack of sensitivity to clients’ needs and treat them differently from fee-paying ones. A better solution would be to create and embody a pro bono culture into the legal profession, with the participation in such schemes coming from the individual out, and not from the State in.

Making the activity of pro bono compulsory may place an unfair encumbrance on lawyers, particularly for those working in smaller practices that are already under resourced. Moreover, firms that presently practice in areas of law under legal aid will be under more pressure; so the solution should rather be to institutionalise it and implement a target-based system, with larger commercial firms enjoying larger objectives in end-to-end cases.

From another more pragmatic view, if these regulations are enforced, how would non-compliance be punished? Would there be enough lawyers to fill the gap created by legal aid cuts, especially in areas of specialist law? Are there enough resources available? The likely answer is no, for there is evidence that even before LASPO, there wasn’t enough legal aid so it is unlikely that pro bono can facilitate this effectively.

More importantly, I feel that regulating in this area would be a regression in the development of the legal system. For it can be perceived as a step away from the government’s responsibly and obligation to ensure the right to a fair trial is upheld, as required by Article 6 of the ECHR.

Recognising that access to justice and equality before the law is intrinsic in a democratic society, this cannot be the solution to the problem. While understanding that a considerable, and increasing proportion of the population are being denied access to justice, it is clear many of the problems reside in the administration of justice and legal system as a whole. This is what needs to be addressed, acknowledged and reformed; the roots of the problem not the leaves. For it cannot fall on the charity sector to water the legal deserts created by LASPO, for it will only expand.

On this note, I therefore believe there should be a strong commitment from the legal profession to provide pro bono work, both in the public interest and benefit of the student or lawyer offering their services, but it should not replace the properly funded legal aid community. It should seek to work in collaboration and corporation with legal aid institutions to bring the right specialism to the right case. To serve the population as a whole and ensure that the rich do not have greater rights of access, but the rule of law is upheld and applied equally to everyone. In conclusion, pro bono services must work in alliance with the legal aid community to better achieve access to justice in a supportive role, not a replacement role.

‘Open Justice – Just Deserts’ by Jamahl Peterkin

Jamahl received a 2019 Open Justice Award for an outstanding contribution to Open Justice pro bono activities. In this post he reflects on his experience of studying W360: Justice in Action which included working in prisons and providing free legal advice to members of the public in the Open Justice Online Law Clinic.

Introduction

Open Justice module provided me with challenges, hurdles, experiences and insights into practising law. The module prepared me for professional practise; both academically and practically and challenged me to achieve my true potential. The module was rewarding, motivating and at times somewhat exhausting, which is perhaps a fair reflection of what to expect from a career in Law. The culmination of years of academic study leading towards my LLB degree culminated in my work with Open Justice, which was the cherry on the cake.

The Learning Curve

Open Justice provided a steep learning curve which allowed me to excel in professional practice under supervision of qualified solicitors. Prior to Open Justice I had no experience in researching and presenting to an audience on legal matters, no experience offering legal advice, no experience working in prisons and no experience working on online legal platforms. This module added a dynamic learning experience which equipped me with valuable transferable skills. The module pushed me out of my comfort as prior modules had been mainly academically based and I had yet been challenged in a practical setting.

I have gained a wealth of skills and experience during this module in a diverse range of topics. Learning how to communicate effectively, to present to a variety of audiences, to hold online conferences, to research and offer advice and learn how to use online legal advice platforms are just a fraction of some of the skills learnt.

The online law clinic provided me with experience in working as a team on legal issues as well as learning different real-life legal situations such as breach of contract and subject access request legalities. The prison law project gave me the opportunity to research and offer advice to prison inmates and gain experience working in prison institutions. Both projects allowed me to gain practical experience and for my clients to get free legal advice. Just deserts for all involved.

Future Career Opportunities

The Open Justice module has opened up further opportunities and career possibilities. The experience I have had working on the Clio case management platform has equipped me with skills in administering advice on online platforms and the ability to research issues for clients. I have gained practical experience in handling contract law issues which will enhance my career opportunities. This experience has been accompanied by the experience gained working in prison, providing transferable presentation skills and also insight into the professional  etiquette and processes relevant to working within a prison environment.

Just Deserts

This module has added immeasurable value to my CV and has provided invaluable professional experience. It has equipped me professionally and academically to be prepared for a career in law. This module has been the cherry on the cake to my law degree. I am due to finish my LLB with valuable practical experience. I have since been contacted to do work in prison institutions and offer advice on contract law cases. Open Justice – Just Deserts, the proof is in the pudding.