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Community legal support recognised with national award win for Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre

The work of Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre in supporting members of the local community with free and affordable legal advice has been recognised once again with a win at the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2021.

Student and solicitor consulting with a client
The team at the Legal Advice Centre are committed to providing access to justice for the local community

The Centre, which has recently passed the £5 million mark in benefits and compensation awarded to its clients, received the prize for Best Contribution by a Law School.

Nottingham Law School student and Chair of the Student Pro Bono Committee, Molly Brown, was also nominated for Best Contribution by an Individual for her work in tirelessly promoting access to justice during her time at the Centre.

The multi award-winning teaching law firm sees Nottingham Law School students work on cases under the supervision of experienced lawyers. It offers support on a range of legal areas, including employment, family, business and commercial, insolvency, county court litigation, intellectual property, Special Educational Needs and Disability, welfare benefits and housing.

Continuing to provide support virtually during the pandemic, last academic year 340 students worked with the Centre and secured more £730,000 for their clients across seven different service areas.

The Welfare Benefits service secured in excess of £680,000 in benefits for clients despite a 33% reduction in cases experienced due to the impact of the pandemic. Students represented 34 individuals before the Social Security Tribunal and achieved a success rate of 82%. The Centre is committed to improving equality and diversity and in the last academic year, 34% of student volunteers were from disadvantaged backgrounds; 27% declared a disability and 29% were from ethnic minorities.

Head of the Legal Advice Centre, Laura Pinkney, said: “We are very proud of our work with the local community. We have a team of very dedicated lawyers and student volunteers who are committed to providing access to justice, which is particularly important at a time when many people are facing a change in circumstances due to Covid-19 and require legal support they could not otherwise afford.”

Now in their 15th year, the awards celebrate the best pro bono activities undertaken by law students and law schools.

The Attorney General, the Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC, who presented the awards at an online ceremony, said: “I am thrilled to continue this valuable tradition alongside LawWorks to recognise and award the brilliant contributions to pro bono and public legal education by students across the country. The innovation, drive and spirit shown by all of those involved in the projects shortlisted for an award attests to the high quality of aspiring young lawyers. They have all demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and support for the community, and are a credit to their universities and themselves. I wish everyone involved the very best in their future endeavours, and offer my congratulations to all of the winners.”

Dean of Nottingham Law School, Jenny Chapman, said: “This is fantastic recognition for the work of the Centre and our talented students in these important national awards.”

As a not for profit teaching law firm with charitable status, the Centre was the UK’s first law firm fully integrated into a law school when it obtained an ABS (Alternative Business Structure) licence in 2015.

It has won a string of awards, most recently including the Contribution to the Community Award 2020 from the Nottinghamshire Law Society; ABS of the Year in the Modern Law Awards 2020; being 'Highly Commended' for Volunteer Team of the Year at the East Midlands Charity Awards 2020; Paralegal, Jack Stuart, named as a ‘Rising Star’ in the Volunteer of the Year category at the East Midlands Charity Awards 2020; and Supervising Caseworker, Callum Scott achieving double success by being awarded Paralegal of the Year at the Modern Law Awards 2020 and also Highly Commended in the Junior Lawyer of the Year category at the highly competitive and prestigious Law Society Excellence Awards.

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2020 National Student Survey, above the sector average of 83%.

Published on 14 May 2021
  • Category: Press office; Nottingham Law School