Cherie Booth QC has officially opened a new advice centre in Guildford, which will see students work side-by-side with qualified solicitors to provide free legal guidance for those who cannot afford to pay for it privately.
The former Prime Minister’s wife was on hand to mark the official opening of the Surrey Law Centre’s new branch in Guildford town centre yesterday (12 July), which will see students from Surrey University take part in various pro bono activities at the clinic.
Head of Surrey University’s law school Rosalind Malcolm has claimed that while other universities usually run law clinics within their own departments, her institution had gone one step further by joining forces with an existing law centre in a bid to give students “invaluable real-life experience”.
“This experience, so early in their training to become lawyers, will enhance their future opportunities of training contracts, pupillages and work in the legal professions,” explained Malcolm.
Students will not only get the chance to undertake general pro bono work at the centre but four candidates will also be able to apply for work placements lasting between six and 12 months as part of the university’s Professional Training Placement scheme.
As part of its four-year sanwich law degree course, Surrey University undergraduates can take advantage of various work placements organised by the institution.
Currently the school offers placements to various law firms and in-house legal teams across the globe including New York, Miami and Brussels.
Booth said: “Law Centres are important as a basic matter of access to justice. I think for law students the ability to meet real people and start applying the law that you’re learning in theory is a vital part of becoming a well-rounded lawyer”.