If you think getting a job is all about grades – think again. You’ll need extra-curricular activities on your CV to stand out. As a law student get involved in pro bono work is an ideal way to make your résumé shine.
Ask yourself this: why do you want to become a lawyer? Is it a) to make loads of money, b) to stride around a courtroom, or c) to help make a difference in people’s lives? Hopefully, it isn’t just the lure of cash that attracts you to law, after all law is one of those professions where you can genuinely help disadvantaged people – even before qualification. Undertaking pro bono opportunities as student means you can put legal theory into practice, help disadvantaged people, and even improve your chances of becoming a qualified lawyer.
‘Pro bono publico’ is a Latin term, meaning ‘for the public good’. It is used to describe activities such as helping people on death row or giving free legal advice cheap generic viagra to those in the local community. Over the past few years more law schools and universities have offered students the chance to get involved in pro bono projects, and there is also an annual awards ceremony to celebrate this work (the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards).
In the challenging pursuit of obtaining a training contract or pupillage, it is all too easy to focus solely on good grades and forget about the extra-curricular activities that could actually make your CV stand out from the crowd. Heather Smith, the lead tutor responsible for pro cialis coupons printable bono work at Chester and Manchester College of Law, reveals that pro bono students can set themselves apart from the competition: ‘Law is now a very competitive career choice. It’s important for our students to have an extra string to their bow. It has been well documented that pro bono students are often more motivated and perform better
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If you are looking for inspiration as to what can be achieved during your time as a student, look no further than former Real World Awards winner, Alexander Mclean. During his time as a law student at Nottingham University Alexander founded the African Prison’s project – a charity which raises money to refurbish clinics and libraries in maximum security prisons in sub-Saharan Africa. The main aim of the charity is to provide a basic level of education and healthcare to death row generic cialis online prisoners. He has set up a website, www.africanprisons.com, which documents the charity’s development and media coverage.
Although undertaking additional projects on top of your academic studies may seem onerous, remember that it may enhance your job prospects in the long run. celebrex In a statement Law Society president, Paul Marsh, said: ‘Pro bono can provide excellent developmental opportunities both in terms of legal knowledge as well as core skills such as client care and case management.’
When it comes to making applications to law firms it is worthwhile finding out what pro bono activities they undertake. While some firms reportedly ‘frown’ upon their lawyers giving pro bono advice, others take their pro bono commitment very seriously indeed. For example, Lovells has a dedicated pro bono team and it has an excellent tack record for its work both in the UK and overseas.
More law firms than ever are offering free legal help to those who cannot afford to pay, and junior lawyers and trainees are among those leading the way. Kevin Poulter, a Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) executive committee member who organises the Young Lawyer Pro Bono Awards, encourages new members of the profession to get involved in pro bono opportunities. He says: ‘Although the JLD nationally does not co-ordinate any specific pro bono activities, we are able to signpost junior lawyers to suitable pro bono initiatives in their area. We work http://genericcialis-onlineon.com/ with LawWorks in this.’ He recommends looking at the JLD website, particularly to here: http://juniorlawyers.lawsociety.org.uk/pro-bono-article.’ (Also, see our boxes for more information.)
Junior Lawyers Division’s top tips
- ‘See if your university, college or law school run a pro bono clinic or programme. Ask your tutor about opportunities.’
- ‘If there is no programme already established, put some pressure on your college to start up a clinic. LawWorks can assist with starting up a new clinic.’
- ‘Look for pro bono opportunities outside of the law school. Organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau have established clinics in towns and cities and many will welcome law students.’
- ‘Do not commit to what you cannot do. Treat pro bono work as if it is paid work.’
- ‘Treat everyone with respect and dignity. You will often be advising people who have no experience of the legal system or of lawyers at all.’
As a consequence of the economic downturn, many of the country’s largest law firms have been forced to ask future trainees to defer their start dates. Many of these firms are paying around £5,000 to those who have had their start dates delayed by a year. However, some are paying trainees more on the condition that they do something ‘worthwhile’ with their time. For example, Clifford Chance offered future trainees £8,000, with an additional £3,000 if they spend their year doing community or pro bono work, or if they undertake further legal studies or learn a language. armour thyroid canada pharmacy Likewise future Denton Wilde Sapte trainees will receive an extra £3,000 (on top of a payment of £7,000) if they carry out a pro bono or charitable project during the deferred period.