The pro bono Business Advice Clinic has had a successful first year of operation. Since October 2016 until the last clinic on 10 May 2017, a group of undergraduate and post-graduate law students has conducted interviews, provided advice and drafted documentation for a variety of business clients.
Work undertaken as part of the clinic includes preparing a new set of Articles of Association for a Bristol charity, drafting consultancy agreements for a start-up based in UWE’s Enterprise Incubator, providing a tailored due diligence questionnaire for the acquisition by an ex-UWE student of a local business and drafting a supply agreement for a beauty product start up based in the Enterprise Incubator at Future Space.
The pro bono clinic was set up by Marcus Keppel-Palmer, head of pro bono legal work in FBL. The clinic has been run in collaboration with lawyers from two Bristol firms: Osborne Clarke and Gregg Latchams. At each pro bono clinic clients were able to make appointments to see a student team with at least one external lawyer present. Work undertaken between clinics was supervised by UWE law lecturer and solicitor, Diana Johnson, in addition to the Osborne Clarke solicitors; Natasha Grant, James Taylor, Victoria Lewis and Clare Lim (trainee) and Gregg Latchams lawyers; Chris Hayward, Ed Boal and Shalini Jagmohan (trainee).
All students who participated in the clinic found it extremely rewarding – comments from some participants are set out below:
Shifrah Walker-Abidoye, LPC:
“I enjoyed being able to contribute the knowledge that I have learnt throughout my undergraduate study in a practical way to start-up companies”
Stefano Pianigiani, LPC:
“I really enjoyed working with solicitors from Osborne Clarke and Gregg Latchams. Seeing how they run interviews has been an invaluable experience.”
Hannah Walkeden, undergraduate Law:
“The clinic has been a great way to interact with start-up businesses, legal professionals and fellow UWE students”
One strand of the Pro Bono offering from the Bristol Law School is the Elderlaw team of students, who are focussed on matters relating to Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney.
This year has seen the team participating in “Make A Will Week”, an annual initiative run by the Law Society.
The Elderlaw team of 8 students ran a Wills service from the Citizens Advice Bureau in Fairfax Street in Bristol City Centre, as well as at Paul’s Place Charity in Coalpit Heath.
Students met clients, took instructions, drafted Wills and finalised the arrangements and paper work.
Student lead, Brooke Lewis said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to people and also to put into practice our knowledge”.
In addition to making Wills, the team has also assisted clients of Paul’s Place in making Lasting Powers of Attorney, which can include provision for relatives to make decisions about care home issues. This has followed on from previous sessions run at the Disability Charity’s premises in Coalpit Heath, where the team put on a Q and A session about making a Will.
As well as this client facing activity, the Elderlaw team has produced a series of leaflets, podcasts and posters about matters surrounding Wills and Probate, launched a website and run a blog.
Marcus Keppel-Palmer (Director of Pro Bono) said:
“I am very proud of the hard work of these students, and am most impressed by the professional way they have dealt with difficult topics with the clients. So many people want to have help from the team that we will be running another session at the CAB in the autumn”.
UWE Pro Bono is celebrating again after the Law Works Student Pro Bono Awards has shortlisted our new LiP Service Project for its 2017 Awards as best new Pro Bono initiative. The Awards will be presented at the House of Commons on April 26th. Law Works is the Pro Bono arm of the Law Society.
The Bristol LiP Service is a service run at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre in order to give litigants in person greater understanding and awareness about the processes and procedures in presenting their cases before the Courts. The service runs weekly sessions.
This ground breaking project is a collaboration between the Bristol Civil Justice Centre, UWE, Bristol University and the University of Law. Ian Thompson (Law)is to be congratulated on the success of the project which he has led from UWE’s perspective and brought about thanks to his existing work with the Bristol Civil Justice Centre through the Law Court Clinic, which has offered assistance to litigants before the Family Court for several years.
UWE supplies 12 students to the rota and one of them, Manmeet Singh (Year 1) will be representing UWE at the Awards.
On April 10th, UWE Bristol hosted their inaugural Student Conference which provided students from across all years of study and disciplines the opportunity to present their research to their peers and UWE staff.
LPC students Chloe Frost, Didem Kekilli, Laura Ramos Montanez and Mun Too were among some of the many students that presented their work at the conference.
Their eye catching poster, which they had designed themselves, showcased the pro bono legal advice they have been providing to a local community interest group which is acquiring use of the former Eastville Library in Bristol through a Community Asset Transfer from the local council.
The students, supervised by Samantha Cornock and Diana Johnson, have been able to draw upon skills and knowledge they have acquired on the LPC to provide advice to the community interest group.
The students commented that taking part in the pro bono project has strengthened their CV’s and impressed potential employers at interviews.
More information on the Eastville Library Project can be found here.
The Bristol Music Advice Service (BMAS) has recently helped two young entrepreneurs set up a new recording studio in the heart of Bristol.
BMAS is run by Law students at UWE Bristol as part of the Pro Bono services offered by the University to local businesses.
BMAS is one of the pro bono business-facing strands which aims to provide free legal advice to people who may not be knowledgeable on the legal side of the music industry. BMAS provides advice and assistance through regular clinics and has recently helped advised recording artists, songwriters and reggae artists in a collaboration with restaurant chain, Turtle Bay.
Danny McMahon and Andrea Succi, who set up Puzzle Maker Studios have been working with BMAS for several years and it is with their legal advice that they have been able to set up the studios.
In early November, the Bristol Law School hosted their 3rd alumni networking drinks at the Bristol Law Society.
The event included a panel discussion on working Pro Bono and was chaired by Marcus Keppel Palmer, UWE Bristol’s Pro Bono Associate Head of Department.
The panel included Julian Hemming, Partner at Osborne Clarke, who has been involved with the pro bono Business and Law Clinic which was recently launched at UWE’s new Enterprise Zone “Future Space”. Julian was joined by Drew Huskisson, Advice Team Manager at the North Bristol Advice Centre, whose job involves providing free and independent advice to those you can’t afford justice.
Finally the panel was made of two our alumni: Marco Anderson, who is studying for his LLM, and Joshua Hazelwood, who is a Paralegal, Knights Professional Services. Both Joshua and Marco were heavily involved in Pro Bono projects during their time at UWE.
The event was attended by alumni and invited students and was held at the new premises for the Bristol Law Society.