Become a Student Volunteer
“Each year, around 200 students take part in pro bono activities through UEA Law Clinic.” Polly Morgan – Law Clinic Director
The UEA Law Clinic provides students with the opportunity to get involved in pro-bono activities and work in partnership with leading local and national charities. Interested in volunteering with us? The pro bono activities at UEA Law Clinic will help to shape your university experience by:
- Developing your substantive legal knowledge of many different areas of law
- Increasing your tactical awareness and strategizing how to run a case
- Improve practical legal skills, for example by undertaking welfare benefits tribunal advocacy
- Developing your knowledge of professional ethics and the regulatory context
- Developing soft skills such as client care, when dealing with people with significant personal difficulties
- Working to deadlines, especially those imposed by a court or tribunal
- Working as part of a team
- Thinking holistically about what help the client needs, including non-legal and legal, and liaising with official agencies for the clients’ benefit
- Having an appreciation of the social context in which a legal problem arises
- Making you feel part of the local community as well as part of the UEA community
- Feel good about making a difference to people’s lives
“The Clinic have aided in the recovery of £10m in welfare benefits wrongly denied to members of the public.” Jane Basham – Chief Executive, Norfolk Community Law Service
As a UEA Law Student, you have the opportunity to become part of UEA’s award-winning Law Clinic. The Clinic enables you to volunteer in a wide range of pro bono (volunteer) activities provided by our partnerships. The work of our students within the Law Clinic has gained national recognition and has been awarded ‘Best Pro Bono Activities’ at the prestigious LawCareers.Net Student Law Society Awards, in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Volunteering is open for all undergraduate and postgraduate law students. Graduate Diploma students can join, but do be aware that the course is rigorous and you may have limited time. Consider perhaps one of our short-term projects for Norfolk Community Foundation instead of all-year volunteering.
Almost all students who want to join UEA law clinic can do so, but often subject to safeguarding requirements and always subject to behaviour. Access to some teams is by selection only (via application and interview), and all students must act professionally and in the best interests of their clients, most of whom are very vulnerable. Students must remember that their behaviour outside the clinic affects the reputation of the clinic and its partners.
You can find detailed info on what volunteers do on our Get Advice page.
We encourage students to develop their roles and expertise across the years of their degree. For example, many first year law students start with Street Law. As a Street Law team member, you may find yourself going to a local school to lead fun activities including mock trials, quizzes and game shows, participating in University Open Days ‘Law Taster’ events on campus or informing members of the public about their legal rights. Street Law will develop your confidence with the law, whilst putting your academic learning into practice in the real world. As well as enhancing your understanding of law, you will be able to deal with a diverse range of people of all ages and boost your employability.
In the spring of your first year, you might make an application to volunteer with Norfolk Community Law Service, or wait for applications to Shelter, Equal Lives, or Norfolk Citizens Advice Service. You might have limited time and want to do a discrete short-term project for the Norfolk Community Foundation. Alternatively, you may be excited by the opportunity to investigate possible miscarriages of justice with our Justice Project team.
The recruitment cycle
Our partners tell us when they wish to recruit students so we cannot guarantee when opportunities will be opened to students and there may be years when some services are not open to new recruits. By way of indication, this is the usual pattern of recruitment:
March - Norfolk Community Law Service opens applications to students to be up and running for September.
April onwards - Shelter usually opens applications for volunteers
Summer - Equal Lives and Citizens Advice open applications for volunteers
Autumn semester - Norfolk Foundation short-term projects; Justice Project recruitment; Street Law recruitment
We are currently open to NCLS applications for the academic year 2023/24. The deadline is 5pm on 14th April 2023. Please check your emails from the school office for links to the application forms.
Please note that this opportunity is by competitive applications which are shortlisted followed by interviews. Interviews will be held from the week commencing 08.05.23.
If you are already volunteering and in a team you do not need to re-apply as you will be asked to express an interest in staying on. Please note that we cannot guarantee you will get a place or a place on the team you request.