Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre – Q and A
Date posted: 25 April 2017
The Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre is an excellent resource working very hard to bridge the inequitable gap between those who are not eligible for legal aid and those who can afford independent legal advice.
Lucia qualified as a solicitor in 2015 having trained predominantly in the family law department, where she now practices exclusively. Whilst studying law she was a volunteer at the LAC and has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the LAC from another angle. She teamed up with Ruby at the LAC for a Q and A session so that our friends and colleagues could find out more.
1. The LAC is a great resource! Please tell us about the LAC and the kinds of people it helps.
We are like a mini law firm in the law department at Queen Mary University of London and aim to provide the same level of advice as a law firm, as well as providing opportunity for our students to develop into future lawyers. We provide pro bono legal advice to Queen Mary Staff and Students and also the wider public.
We have 8 different projects advising on a range of legal issues including: landlord and tenant, employment, family, immigration, crime, consumer, and also the law surrounding the distribution of intimate images (more commonly known as “revenge porn”). We also have 3 projects offering targeted advice to particular groups including: Pink Law (for the LGBT community), Law for Forces (for armed forces, ex-forces and their families) and the Law for the Arts project where we advise clients from the creative industries.
2. How do students from the university get involved?
As a university based centre, we involve QM law students and they are trained and supervised to provide legal advice. The students interview clients to get an understanding of their legal issue and then provide a written letter of legal advice which is tailored to answer the client’s questions. Throughout the process, students are supervised by a volunteering qualified solicitor/barrister.
There are a number of other ways that students can get involved as well. We have student note takers, who sit in client interviews and record what is discussed. Students can also be on our support team. The support team are the back bone of the centre and ensure that the operation runs smoothly. They have a number of different duties including: dealing with client enquiries, booking client appointments, administrative tasks such as scanning, shredding, making files and they also run the reception desk during client appointment sessions. We also have our SPITE for schools project, where groups of students conduct bespoke workshops at local secondary schools on the law around the sharing of intimate images.
3. We have noticed the LAC’s incredible expansion over the years. What does the LAC have planned for the future?
We hope to be able to provide more appointments for clients in the coming year, in particular for employment and family law. This in turn will mean that there will be even more opportunities for QM law students to get involved.
Prepared by Ruby Khela and Lucia Johnson – 25.4.2017