Undergrads miss out on pro bono opportunities

UK law schools have been slammed for failing to provide students with enough pro bono opportunities while they are studying

According to Professor Richard Grimes, director of pro bono services and clinical legal education at the College of Law, universities need to shed their conservative inhibitions and give law students the chance to try out real life lawyering before they graduate.

“Some law schools think it is best to leave clinical work till the apprenticeship stage, but that’s terribly late in the day, because by then they’ll be under pressure to turn over work for their firm,” said Grimes.

Resource shortages and the fact that pro bono work has been “tainted as a skill” are other reasons why law schools are reluctant to embrace clinical work into their degrees, according to Grimes.

Grimes has called on the Law Society and the Bar Council, as well as law teachers’ associations, to endorse the value of pro bono work as a valuable teaching aid.

“College of Law students who’ve tried clinical work say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done in their legal studies, and that it has changed the way they look at the world,” explained Grimes. “Students are voting with their feet, and many of them come to us because of the pro bono work that we do.”