Engaging students and the community through USW's Legal Advice Clinic

Gemma Sweetman, Hannah Menard

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    The USW Legal Advice Clinic is a pro-bono, student-led clinic, offering free legal advice to students, staff and public. The Clinic undertakes full casework for clients, but also runs several pro-bono projects/collaborative partnerships. USW lecturers (also solicitors) supervise the live client work in the Clinic. This approach allows supervisors, as clinicians, to combine their professional expertise with the opportunity for students to see ‘law in action’ and develop employability skills, facilitating a truly experiential approach to their education. To increase the number of students engaging, the Clinic made significant changes over the last 12 months. These include increased opportunities, intra and extra-curricular, resulting in an increase in student numbers from 36 (April 2017-March 2018) to 81 (April 2018-present). Over the past 12 months, we have developed new projects including a summer placement scheme, general legal advice clinic at the CAB in Pontypridd, family law clinic at CAB in Risca, litigation clinic with Slater & Gordon Solicitors, supporting a Litigant in Person scheme at the Employment Tribunal and a Criminal Appeals project with the Freedom Law Clinic in London. The Clinic plays a crucial role in widening access to justice for the Valleys and South Wales communities. Following legal aid cuts, the Clinic provides opportunities for USW to be at the forefront of maintaining access to justice for our community. The clinic assisted 50 clients during April 2017-March 2018, increasing to 158 from April 2018-present. Through the Clinic and its partnerships, students gain opportunities to develop connections, access professional networks such as the third sector, law firms, barristers’ chambers and judiciary. These connections are vital to the development of our students’ self-confidence, and raise their aspirations to succeed as a USW graduate. This paper discusses the changes made and seeks to demonstrate the impact upon both student engagement and benefit to the local community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 20 Jun 2019
    EventUSW Learning and Teaching Conference 2019 - University of South Wales
    Duration: 20 Jun 201920 Jun 2019


    ConferenceUSW Learning and Teaching Conference 2019


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