For those who, like me, believe that the skills we develop over the course of our degree should be used for the public good, Oxford Legal Assistance is a really brilliant opportunity...
Emily Hancox, Worcester College, Course I
Oxford Law has established its first pro bono programme that is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, the Oxford Legal Assistance project (OLA). The programme involves students in practical legal work to provide assistance that benefits clients who would often be unable to afford legal advice otherwise.
The first OLA project trained students to assist a local Oxford firm of solicitors, Turpin and Miller in taking instructions from legal aid funded clients, to allow the solicitors to spend more of the available legal aid time on the aspects of the case requiring legal expertise. These cases tend to focus on immigration issues, providing a vital service to clients, some of whom have travelled from as far as Cardiff to attend.
The OLA has recently announced the launch of a new project, assisting Oxford’s local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, with Oxford law students attending weekly CAB clinics in various areas of the law, to assist the advising volunteer lawyers.
The OLA programme clearly benefits local clients in need of legal assistance, and it also enables law students to get some hands-on practical experience of the law, at the same time as they study the subject as an academic discipline.