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LSBU highly commended in prestigious Pro Bono awards

LSBU has been highly commended for "Best Contribution by a Law School" in the prestigious LawWorks and Attorney General's Student Pro Bono Awards
19 March 2014

The eighth annual awards ceremony was held at the House of Commons on Tuesday 1st April 2014 where Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP presented the awards to the winners.

These high-profile national awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and students in the provision of pro bono (free) legal work for their local communities.

LSBU's law department was commended for three linked projects: it's innovative drop-in Legal Advice Clinic; the Legal Advice Clinic's Drop-In Clinic Operating Manual (PDF, 908 KB), funded by the Higher Education Academy and available as a free teaching and learning resource; and the Legal Advice Clinic's new satellite helpdesk at Lambeth County Court.

As part of the Southwark Legal Advice Network, the clinic a free drop-in, face-to-face legal advice service for the local community staffed by trained law student volunteers working under the close supervision of university-employed practising solicitors.

Student Clinic Volunteer, Chris Athanasi said: "My placement in the Legal Advice Clinic has been excellent. It's enabled me to put into practice what I've learned in the classroom and improved my real world legal skills enormously.

"At the same time, I've been able to help local people sort out their urgent housing, employment, family and welfare benefits problems. The Clinic has been one of the highlights of my law degree so far."

LSBU's Legal Advice Clinic provides general advice in all areas of social welfare law and specialist advice in housing, employment and family law at evening sessions staffed by local solicitors and the student volunteers.

In 2012 the clinic was highlighted and praised in the Million+ Thinktank's report 'Teaching that Matters' for involving students in a valuable community service while they gain real-world legal experience, develop transferable skills and enhance their employability prospects.

Since the clinic opened its doors in September 2011, students have helped approaching 1000 clients; a significant response to the overwhelming demand for good free social welfare law advice in Southwark and surrounding communities.

"This commendation is a tremendous achievement," said Alan Russell, Director of the LSBU Legal Advice Clinic.

"Our clinical legal education work is already nationally and increasingly internationally recognized for its pioneering 'drop-in' approach.

"This further, formal recognition of the worth and quality of what we're doing here as LSBU is a great reward for all the students, staff and external partners who work on all our clinical projects."

Learn more about LSBU's Legal Advice Clinic