Volunteering at the Legal Advice Centre as a First Year Student

This blog was authored by first year Law students and Legal Advice Centre volunteers Eleanor Chandler and Sophie Butler.

As first year law students, the idea of joining the Legal Advice Centre was a daunting but exciting prospect. The ability to gain valuable experience in family and commercial law is an amazing opportunity that will not only benefit us once we graduate but also help us to develop key skills that will assist us in completing our law degree. As students, the Legal Advice Centre is helpful in allowing us to gain both practical and theoretical knowledge of two key areas of law whilst also gaining feedback and advice from our supervisors.

The Legal Advice Centre is an important contribution to the community as it allows for advice to be given to those who are not eligible for legal aid but still cannot afford the costly legal advice that they require. It is an opportunity for students like us to apply what we are learning through our studies to situations that occur in the reality of the real world. Our law course teaches us the structure and content of the law, and the Legal Advice Centre allows our developing understanding of the law to have a real positive influence for those who may require it. Being new to our law course, we feel that the Legal Advice Centre has the potential to grow within the community, and we are excited to invest our individuality into the experience and see how it can flourish. We believe that it will allow us to expand our developing knowledge of the law beyond the classroom and hopefully reach areas of the community that could benefit from our enthusiasm of supporting individuals in the issues that they face.

The training for the Legal Advice Centre occurred over two days and was pivotal in ensuring that we have prior knowledge of the basics of both areas of law and that we had confidence in our interviewing skills. We are proud of the fact that we as students have the opportunity to draft the letters of advice and that we strive to ensure that they are posted within seven days of the initial interview.

Juggling the workload from taking a law course whilst also volunteering at the Legal Advice Centre is a challenging prospect, however, it is extremely rewarding as it allows us to understand the expectations placed upon us when working within the legal field. We are excited to see the future of the Legal Advice Centre and the benefits that it will have on the community in which we study.