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University of York law students offer free legal advice to the local community

Posted on 21 October 2013

Law students at the University of York are on hand to offer free, confidential, legal advice to the local community.

Over the last three years, student advisors at the York Law School Clinic have helped over 250 clients who otherwise might have struggled to find or afford a solicitor.

As public funding is being reduced, we are proud to play a part in providing a service that meets local needs and compliments the work done by others

Richard Grimes

Part of the York Law School, the Clinic has provided expertise in areas ranging from landlord and tenant disputes, to creating charities and companies. It has also worked in and with prisons, tribunals, charities, schools and the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

All work done in the York Law Clinic is supervised by professionally qualified lawyers who ensure it meets the standards of service of any solicitors practice.

Student advisors interview clients, find out their concerns and look into these. After consulting with professional lawyers, the student advisors then provide written advice to clients informing them of their position and what the client may be able to do.

Richard Grimes, a qualified solicitor and the York Law School’s Director of Clinical Programmes, said: “Since it opened for business in January 2011, the York Law Clinic has recovered or saved well in excess of £200,000 for clients. The value of the service provided in the last academic year, if charged at Legal Aid rates, is estimated at over £50,000.

“As public funding is being reduced, we are proud to play a part in providing a service that meets local needs and compliments the work done by others. Although there may be some instances where we cannot help, we will always explain why and if possible refer people to specialist advisors.”

Feedback from clients has included:

“The students were a great advert for the University. They were attentive, polite and very helpful.”

“I am really appreciative of the prompt and thorough reply I received from the Clinic.”

“I was very pleased with the quality of advice I received and it has gone a long way to setting my mind at rest.”

The York Law Clinic also oversees other ‘pro bono’ activities including Streetlaw - working with groups in the local community so they are better able to understand their rights and responsibilities - and a restorative justice programme, where students are trained to be able to facilitate meetings between victims and offenders.

For students, working with the York Law School Clinic helps them to put theory into practice, providing real world experience.

One student advisor said: “Working in the York Law Clinic has given me a great sense of personal reward and pride in being able to aid clients with their issues in a professional working manner. The experience was very fulfilling and gave me an insight into how a professional practices law everyday and experience the satisfaction in being told by a client they were thankful for and impressed by my work.”

For more information or to book an appointment, phone the York Law School Clinic on 01904 567635 or email law-clinic@york.ac.uk.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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