As part of Pro Bono Week 2020, trainee solicitor Nina Holmes gives an update on the pro bono initiative we launched just over nine months ago, in partnership with the University of South Wales Legal Advice Clinic (USW).
Not long after the launch of our brand-new partnership with USW, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. This inevitably put an unfortunate halt on this initiative, crucially at the point where we had just gotten our feet on the ground. The closure of universities and social distancing regulations made it that much more difficult for all parties involved to connect with one another and offer support to those who need it most.
However, since the new academic year kicked off in September, we have received several exciting queries from student volunteers, which we have really been able to get our teeth in to. We’ve responded to ad hoc legal queries and helped with pre-interview preparations, as well as signposting student volunteers to various legal resources and case law, all within a broad range of legal services.
As trainees, not only has this given us a greater sense of purpose and responsibility, but it has also allowed us to build connections and develop relationships within USW and the wider community. Although our role is strictly advisory in nature, it does not detract from the fact that both student volunteers and trainee solicitors are able to engage with the pro bono community – building on transferrable skills which are essential within the legal profession.
As businesses are forced to close and unemployment rates continue to rise, I think it’s crucial that those within the private legal and third sectors continue in their efforts to support their local community by getting involved in pro bono opportunities, wherever and whenever they can.