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NLS Legal

The multi award-winning NLS Legal is NTU’s own on-campus teaching law firm and is fully regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). IIt was the first of its kind in the country and offers outstanding and unique opportunities to Nottingham Law School students as well as supporting the local community.

What we do

The NLS Legal Foyer

Our mission is simple: to ensure more people receive the access to justice they deserve, and to create more opportunities to train and inspire the outstanding legal professionals of the future, regardless of their background.

At NLS Legal our team of qualified and experienced lawyers work alongside students from NTU’s Nottingham Law School (NLS) onsite, online, and in the local community to offer legal services across a wide range of practice areas to those who are unable to afford, or otherwise access, legal advice and assistance.

The value of this to our communities cannot be underestimated, while the opportunities and experiences of being involved in this important work has enormous benefits to our students as they set out towards a successful and rewarding legal career.

Why it matters

We all have a fundamental right of access to justice and the courts. Legal aid for those unable to afford legal assistance has been a pillar of the UK’s welfare state since it was enshrined in law in 1949.

But eligibility for support has been eroded over the years and it has become an increasingly difficult resource to access, hurting those in financial difficulty the most. Indeed, a report carried out in 2021 by the House of Commons Justice Committee found that: “There is a real need for a more flexible scheme that allows anyone with a legal problem, who cannot afford a lawyer, to access early legal advice.”

Areas like Nottingham – ranked as the “poorest city in the UK” for the fifth time in 2019 – are feeling the effects of such a need most acutely, and the provision for access to free legal help is of tantamount importance to the wellbeing of many of the region’s most vulnerable people.

At the same time, the experience and opportunities offered by NLS Legal to our students are truly invaluable. Being able to immerse themselves in the work of a law firm on the same campus that their learning and teaching takes place is an enormous benefit as they work hard to become the next generation of legal professionals.

The most recent data shows that students working with NLS Legal are more likely to achieve a 2:1 or First Class degree. Whilst 70% of NLS students typically achieve a 2:1 or First Class degree, this rises to over 90% for NLS Legal students.

How you can help support this life-changing work

Sadly, the need for our services has soared in recent years. Since 2016, we’ve witnessed a 140% rise in enquiries, and despite the remarkable efforts of our staff and students, we can’t currently accommodate all those requests. In fact, we have to turn down 78% of cases we are approached with due to demand far outstripping capacity.

Yet the long-term failure of meeting this need doesn’t bear contemplation. If people are brave enough to ask for our help, we must be dynamic enough to provide it. Just one unanswered enquiry could have a devastating impact on the individual, their family, and even their whole community.

It’s therefore vital that we continue to develop the scope, scale and quality of NLS Legal. Our goals are to develop our personnel resources, to expand our key services — such as housing, employment and family support — and to maintain our position as one of the UK’s pre-eminent names in pro bono.

With your support, we’ll meet these ambitions.

There are different ways you can donate and help NLS Legal. Please contact our Head of Philanthropy, Kayleigh Glasper, on 0115 8484 604, or at kayleigh.glasper@ntu.ac.uk. We’d be delighted to talk to you in further detail about our work, and how you can support us.

Fundraising promise

All our activities adhere to the Fundraising Code of Practice, ensuring that every donation you make is put to the best possible use. Find out more.

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