Trainees help homeless

If the dwindling economy and the news of layoffs at several major law firms has got you worried about finding a training contract or the security of an existing one, then stop.

Teams of lawyers worked round the clock to dish out free legal advice to homeless people over the Christmas period.

Students and trainees worked alongside fully qualified barristers and solicitors to man the Crisis Open Christ-mas advice and resettlement centre, run annually by homeless charity Crisis.

As well as issuing benefits advice and helping guests to gain access to important documents such as birth

Students have the homeless advice on benefits and housing law certificates, legal volunteers also helped to allocate beds in the capital.

Christopher Warren-Dickins, a trainee at Trowers & Hamlins, said that the experience had been a challenge, mentally and emotionally. “There was literally a different question for every person and sometimes it was just common sense. I did have to remember quite a lot of landlord and tenant stuff from my housing seat.

“It was quite difficult to go home to your own place at the end of the day,” he added.

While other parts of the shelter provided food, warmth, hairdressers and internet access, Warren-Dickins believes that the legal centre was one of the most important facilities on offer. “There were so many people you thought might have been kicked out of their place wrongly,” he said.

“I think it was definitely well received. During the last couple of days a few people came back from their hostels to say thank you for finding them a place.”