Nottingham Law School granted ABS licence

Nottingham Law School's Legal Advice Centre has become a teaching law firm after being granted Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

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The licence will allow the Legal Advice Centre to expand its services

Nottingham Law School's Legal Advice Centre has become a teaching law firm after being granted Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The licence will give students the opportunity to work in a fully regulated organisation as part of their studies, replicating the professional environment and working practices of an external law firm.

The Legal Advice Centre traditionally handles housing, property and environmental cases, and welfare and employment issues, but now has a flexible platform that will enable it to expand into new areas in the future.

In the next phase of development, the Legal Advice Centre is looking to set up an entrepreneurial and intellectual property law service, which will offer start-ups and social enterprises essential legal advice, giving them a solid legal grounding on which to grow their venture.

Ultimately the aim of this development is to enrich our student and community offering.

Jenny Holloway, Associate Dean of Nottingham Law School

Jenny Holloway, associate dean of Nottingham Law School, said: "Ultimately the aim of this development is to enrich our student and community offering. The teaching law firm will provide outstanding educational opportunities for our students, and as a university, community engagement is very important to us. Operating as an ABS allows us to expand our services for the public good. The students will be fully-supervised by qualified solicitors and will offer a quality legal advice service."

The Centre is already serving the local community well, providing more than 10,000 hours of free legal advice since its launch in new premises in June 2014. In excess of 220 Nottingham Law School students have been involved in its work since then, with more than 180 clients benefiting from its services. The Centre has also successfully represented and recovered in the region of £40,000 for clients with tribunal cases.

All of Nottingham Law School's pro bono activity comes under the Centre, including free representation for clients in local employment and social security tribunals, local community outreach projects and a Miscarriage of Justice Project1. It also facilitates overseas placements and internships and international pro bono opportunities.

Nick Johnson, director of the Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre, said: "The employment market is highly competitive and, along with academic excellence, graduates need to show that they've gained as much experience as possible during their studies.

"Operating as an ABS will give students at all levels the chance to experience a wide range of legal professional practice. The work will not only cover various areas of law, but will also teach students about issues relating to access to justice. We're preparing them to excel in their chosen profession."

Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, is one of the UK's largest law schools, offering a full range of undergraduate, Masters and Practitioner courses. For further information on the Legal Advice Centre visit the website.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email; or Dave Rogers, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    Alternative Business Structure (ABS)ABS licences were first granted in 2012. They allow a law firm to have non-lawyers as full partners in the firm and enable non-law businesses to enter the legal services market under strictly regulated conditions.

    1Miscarriages of justice: Project innocence. Innocence Network UK's overall aim is to improve the criminal justice system by overturning convictions given to factually innocent people, to learn lessons from such wrongful convictions and to effect reforms to prevent such wrongful convictions from occurring in the future.

Nottingham Law School granted ABS licence

Published on 12 October 2015
  • Category: Business; Nottingham Law School

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