Business and Law Clinic launches at UWE Bristol’s £16.5m Enterprise Zone ‘Future Space’

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As part of its new University Enterprise Zone (“UEZ”) activity, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is launching a pro bono legal service for small businesses in collaboration with Bristol law firm Gregg Latchams Ltd and international legal practice Osborne Clarke LLP. This support will be provided within the new Future Space Centre on Frenchay Campus.

The weekly Business and Law Clinic will provide pro bono legal advice to small businesses in Future Space and across the South West. The key objective of the innovative venture will be to provide SMEs, growing businesses and start-ups with business–legal advice at a critical stage in their development.

A selected group of law students, both undergraduates and postgraduate professional students, will provide the advice on areas such as corporate and commercial, employment, litigation and dispute resolution and tax. Supervised by practising solicitors from Gregg Latchams, Osborne Clarke and UWE Bristol, the students will gain real-world insight and experience, providing them with valuable skillsets and exposure to the world of business. In addition to the Clinic, students will also be providing ‘essentials’ workshops in the professional services of law and accounting.

UWE Bristol’s Future Space, which opened its doors on 15 August 2016, is part of a new University Enterprise Zone, one of four that have been set up nationally and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Assisting businesses specialising inrobotics, digital and creative technologies, biosciences and other high tech areas, UEZ will bring an estimated economy boost of £85m as well as over 450 new jobs to the region.

Donna Whitehead, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean who has led this initiative at UWE Bristol said, “This initiative deepens and broadens the University’s engagement with local businesses and the community and will really enhance the experience of our students in the Faculty, ensuring they are business–ready whilst also providing valuable expertise to growing businesses and start-ups at a critical stage in their development. We are delighted to be working with Osborne Clarke and Gregg Latchams.”

Peter Clough, Head of Osborne Clarke’s Bristol office said, “Future Space plays to the strengths of Bristol as a vibrant technology and enterprise hub, offering crucial space and advice for startups and SMEs in the area. We’re looking forward to seeing the innovative companies and working alongside the best and brightest students that UWE Bristol has to offer.”

Ken McEwan, Director and Head of Dispute Resolution at Gregg Latchams Solicitors said, “Gregg Latchams are particularly proud to be associated with this project having a strong presence in the digital, media and technology sector. This exciting venture offers a great opportunity for us to build relationships with companies of the future, demonstrates our commitment to SMEs and fills an important gap to provide support to new enterprise.”

The new Business and Law Clinic is in addition to the renowned pro bono work that already takes place within the law school at UWE Bristol. As well as the services being provided for businesses, students will also from the autumn be offering a new weekly drop-in service under the supervision of practitioner tutors at Citizens Advice Bristol’s offices in Fairfax Street. Advice will cover areas such as benefits, debt, employment and family matters. In June, its work withAvon & Bristol Law Centre won ‘Pro Bono Initiative of the Year’ at the nationalLawyer Awards 2016.

The launch event and first 30 mins clinics are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 12 October from 14:00-17:00 at Future Space. For small businesses wishing to sign up for this event – please register using the link below: UWE Business and Law Clinic – Launch Event and First Clinic.

Graduate stands to receive award after 5 years in a wheelchair

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Watch the inspirational and emotional video on the UWE Bristol Facebook page.

A student at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) stood to receive his degree, having spent the past 5 years in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident.

Law graduate, Jeremiah Daliel, told his classmates during his first year at the University that he would stand to receive his degree, and stayed true to his word at his graduation ceremony, held at Bristol Cathedral on Wednesday 20 July.

Jeremiah’s inspirational action was aptly met by a standing ovation from his classmates, who clapped and cheered as Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane Harrington, conferred his degree.

Jeremiah, said, “I can’t believe that I am standing unaided for the first time in 5 years. It is a miracle and thank you so much. Thanks to my friends, and the University, for all their support and encouragement.”

Jeremiah wrote a LinkedIn article about his journey and the experience – you can read the full article here.

Lawyer awards recognise pro bono work by UWE students

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The Legal Advocacy Support Project, a partnership between Avon & Bristol Law Centre (ABLC), the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Law has won ‘Pro Bono Initiative of the Year’ at The Lawyer Awards 2016. The announcement was made at a gala dinner at the O2 Intercontinental Hotel, London, attended by over 1,000 people from law firms across the country last night.

Whilst at UWE Bristol Law School, students are actively encouraged to get involved in a variety of projects from supporting local residents in dealing with community issues to providing free legal advice and assistance to members of the public.

This pro bono work provides UWE students with a great way of gaining experience in legal work and learning how to provide law-related advice.

UWE Bristol students have been volunteering at the ABLC advising claimants challenging changes made to their disability entitlement for over three years. To date they have helped to win more than £1 million in benefits for clients incorrectly judged to be capable of working by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Clare Carter, ABLC’s Director, said, “We are immensely proud of our team who are working with the some of the most disadvantaged people in our community. Following cuts in legal aid, these people have nowhere else to turn. This project is now a model that other areas of the country are following.”

Marcus Keppel-Palmer, UWE’s pro bono liaison, said, “We are delighted that the Avon & Bristol Law Centre has been recognised for the pro bono partnership with the University.

“At ABLC, our student volunteers have helped to advise claimants by challenging changes made to their disability entitlement. Since the project started the success rate of appeals made by the students and ABLC stands well above the national average at 95 per cent.

“Last year we announced that the students had helped to win more than £1 million in benefits for clients incorrectly judged to be capable of working by the Department for Work and Pensions.

“Recognition at The Lawyer Awards 2016 for our partners at Avon & Bristol Law Centre is wonderful news and demonstrates huge success for our commitment to pro bono work and the mutual benefits that both organisations have derived from this.

“We are committed to giving students as many opportunities through extra-curricular activities such as pro bono, whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

“Our students devote significant amounts of their time to assisting the local community, and we are very proud of the recognition for the link with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre.”

The project has helped more than 200 people over the last two years with an average of £5,000 won for each client.

Students who take part in pro bono work do well in the future as is borne out by the University’s Destination of Leavers in Higher Education data released today showing that 96% of UWE Bristol law graduates were in employment or further study just six months after graduation.

Students behind £1 million benefits victory up for national award

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Law students’ work representing benefits claimants wrongly declared fit for employment has helped secure a nomination for a national award.

University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) students have been volunteering at the Avon & Bristol Law Centre advising claimants challenging changes made to their disability entitlement. They have helped win more than £1 million in benefits for clients incorrectly judged to be capable of working by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The highly successful collaboration with the law centre is now in the running for the title Most Effective Pro Bono Partnership at the LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards. The partnership – which also involves students from the University of Law – has been included in a four-strong shortlist for the prize.

Since the project began three years ago, the success rate of appeals made by the students and law centre stands well above the national average at 95 per cent.

Marcus Keppel-Palmer, UWE’s pro bono liaison, said, “Recognition by LawWorks in shortlisting the Legal Advocacy Support Project for the 2015 Awards is excellent news for the pro bono commitment that UWE has. As a full service Law School, we are committed to giving students as many opportunities through extra-curricular activities such as pro bono, whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

“Many of our students devote significant amounts of their time to assisting the local community, and we are very proud of the recognition for the link with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre.”

The project has helped more than 200 people over the last two years with an average of £5,000 won for each client.

UWE Bristol students have become a familiar sight at Bristol’s Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, where they represent clients at their benefit appeals in front of a judge and doctor. The project recruits the brightest law students to ensure the best results for clients. All the UWE students on the project who graduated this year have received First Class degrees.

The LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards recognise and celebrate achievement in legal pro bono work undertaken by organisations and individuals, and the dedication and commitment of the legal sector to positively impact individuals and communities.

The awards on Tuesday November 24 will be hosted by legal commentator and journalist Joshua Rozenberg, with an inaugural annual lecture given by Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti CBE.

Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of LawWorks, said, “The LawWorks Pro Bono Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the legal profession’s dedication to improving lives and enabling access to justice and I would like to congratulate all the finalists. The quality and range of nominations demonstrate innovation and commitment to pro bono and we are grateful to all who took the time to nominate.”