Partnering with Universities to Nurture Future Talent We work closely with Birmingham City University, Coventry University and the University of Warwick to develop a growing range of opportunities for students to benefit from ‘clinical legal education’ within the law centre setting. These relationships are important in enabling us to provide services in areas of law where there is no longer any legal aid, and in providing capacity to support strategic litigation. They are also a critical part of our objective to nurture future talent and encourage young people to focus on social welfare law. In partnership with Birmingham City University the Law Centre runs and supports clinics in welfare benefits, immigration, housing and employment law In partnership with Coventry University, the Law Centre runs and supports clinics in employment law and welfare benefits student advocacy In partnership with Coventry University, the Law Centre runs and supports clinics in employment law and welfare benefits student advocacy Birmingham City University Immigration clinic Based at the BCU Law Clinic, students receive training in immigration and asylum law, client care, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and remote working. The term-time placements consisted of two different clinics: Immigration Advice and Exceptional Case Funding (ECF). ECF is granted in situations which fall outside the scope for legal aid, but funding is required to avoid a breach of someone’s human rights or EU law. Having to speak to real people with real problems was a new experience for me - and very enlightening too. Employment and PLE clinic Students work with clients to triage their case and provide advice, as well as drafting legal documents, helping to create legal document bundles and providing research capacity on complex sex discrimination cases. Within the PLE (Public Legal Education) placement, students participate in preparing PLE materials and delivering training to partner organisations, ranging from sessions about legal rights in relation to employment contracts to sessions on grievances and termination of employment. Welfare benefits clinic Students participating in the clinic receive training on topics such as an introduction to the benefits system, universal credit, Personal Independence Payment (‘PIP’), and challenging decisions, which runs over eight weeks. Students are then supervised to provide clients with advice to clients, as well as attending hearings to represent clients on welfare benefits issue, providing real-world understanding of the processes faced by clients. Housing clinic Students are provided with training on housing law, which then enables them to participate in interviews with clients, undertaking research and providing advice over the phone in a sensitive and professional manner. The placement has developed my communication interpersonal skills when interacting with clients and will contribute to my studies and career in the future. Kids in Need of Defence (KIND) clinic KIND is a programme set up to protect undocumented children in the UK with a rights-based method by: Providing free legal help to children, young people, and families as they navigate the UK immigration system. We partner with lawyers and law firms across the country to ensure the best quality legal advice and representation. Protecting the rights and wellbeing of undocumented children and young people Campaigning for systemic change to ensure that all children are safe and able to thrive regardless of their immigration status. Students participate in training sessions in immigration law, nationality law, client care and practical legal skills, followed by hands-on experience working with clients through interviews, taking instructions, providing advice, drafting letters and representation, assessing client documents, completing application forms and advising on legal decisions. Coventry University Employment Students receive training on confidentiality, conflict of interest and employment law. In the clinic, they undertake a range of tasks such as learning about the process of making a claim in an employment tribunal, including ACAS Early Conciliation, ET1 claim forms, ET3 grounds of resistance, schedule of loss, and witness statements. Another element of the placement involves researching, drafting and providing one-off advice to clients over the phone, helping students to develop practical skills that they can use in their legal careers. They also have the opportunity to triage cases that will then be passed to the Law Centre's pro-bono partner organisations who will provide legal representation for the clients. Everything I did was really helpful in aiding me to develop essential skills for future employment in the legal sector. Welfare benefits Students complete several weeks of training on the welfare benefits systems, with a focus on Personal Independence Payments (PIP), and are then assigned PIP appeal cases to work on with supervision from members of the Law Centre's Welfare Benefits team. Students review cases and prepare questions to ask when conducting telephone interviews with clients. Through these interviews and calls with clients to clarify relevant information, the students increase their legal knowledge, problem solving and communication skills. Students also gain experience through completion of mock interview and hearings, as well as shadowing client interviews and attending hearings. University of Warwick Strategic Social Justice Clinic The Strategic Social Justice Clinic (SSJC) is a joint initiative between the Law Centre and Warwick Law in the Community. It specialises in using public law and other rights-based strategies to address systemic disadvantage and achieve effective change. Students work with the Public Law team at the Law Centre on a variety of projects, creating capacity for the Law Centre to undertake projects and campaigns that they would otherwise be unable to pursue, while also nurturing future talent and encouraging young people to focus on social welfare law. Working in small groups, student volunteers receive supervision, guidance and mentorship from Emma Austin, Solicitor and Rights in the Community Strategy Lead at the Law Centre, alongside Rebecca Munro, Director of Warwick LinC. Projects are carefully selected to put legal learning into practice, find creative ways of using the law and develop leadership, communication and organisational skills in the social justice sector. Student volunteers are closely involved in devising and delivering project strategies, and not simply completing set tasks.