UK Law students volunteer to help people affected by coronavirus pandemic

A group of 40 law students from The University of Manchester are set to volunteer their services during their holidays to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

From Monday, 15 June, the students will be providing written and video advice online in five areas of law particularly impacted by the virus – carers, family, employment, consumer and housing.

The University’s Justice Hub and Legal Advice Centre has long provided vacation schemes but this year’s has been moved online because of the pandemic. Demand was high from students, with the number of placements in the scheme doubled.

“The scheme is giving 40 School of Social Science students the opportunity to have a virtual vacation scheme placement with the aim of producing short information videos to help the public in key areas that have been impacted by Covid-19,” said Claire McGourlay, Professor of Legal Education.

“Solicitors, barristers and a video editing company Video Cake are also all giving up their time for free to help the students to produce the videos.”“

This collaborative scheme really does create a supportive and interactive environment, where students learn important skills and knowledge while supporting the most marginalised, vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society.

Professor Claire McGourlay

The scheme also has the support of Marcus Pilgersorfer QC with 20 years’ experience and who also sits as a part-time judge. Staff in the school are also supporting the scheme as specialist academic leads, staff buddies to the groups and technical support.

83 students applied for the scheme and the students who missed out on the vacation scheme will be able to take part in the virtual Manchester Free Legal Help scheme with volunteer lawyers, offering on-the-spot advice to clients in a wide range of areas of law. This virtual scheme is due to start on Monday, 29 June and students will have the opportunity to virtually triage clients and take a record of the solicitor’s advice.

Traditionally, students taking part in the vacation scheme spent a week working in the Legal Advice Centre and another undertaking employability sessions such as updating resumes and carrying out mock interviews with prospective future employers at the University of Law.

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