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Our News

11 November 2011

CAVC to launch Pro Bono Project

As National Pro Bono week celebrates its 10th Anniversary, Cardiff and Vale College announces their plans to be the first Further Education Institution to pilot a Pro Bono Project in 2012, with students and employers working in conjunction with the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) to give advice to those in need at the College.

Pro Bono uses the specific skills of professionals to provide free legal help for someone who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance. The changes to public funding for legal advice, assistance and representation and closure of legal advice centres mean that professional advice is hard to come by for many. The ILEX student volunteers at Cardiff and Vale College will offer a weekly one hour clinic with volunteers from partner law firms visiting the College’s different sites on a rota basis to give legal help and advice to Cardiff and Vale College students.

Judith Gordon-Nichols, Chair of ILEX Pro Bono said, “ILEX is delighted to be working with Cardiff and Vale College on this innovative project, which is one of the first schemes to involve ILEX students in the provision of Pro Bono services in their community. Lawyers in England and Wales, from all legal backgrounds, give an immense amount of their own time, for free and for no personal gain other than knowing they are helping those in need and this project is a perfect example of how we can encourage the next generation of Pro Bono providers.”

The project will help remove barriers to learning that are faced by many Cardiff and Vale College learners in relation to immigration, family law, housing and employment law. Julie Price, Head of Pro Bono, Cardiff Law School within Cardiff University believes it will be an excellent learning initiative that also provides a valuable service to the College community where students can see how daily issues translate into legal advice.

Curriculum and Operations Manager for the Business and Professional Faculty, Lorna Williams, said, “Instilling a pro bono ethos is vital. Being an inner-city college, we could see how many learners face barriers to studying which our professional students could help resolve as part of an advice project. When I studied, it was driven home to us that, while education is a right, it is also a privilege and with that should come a responsibility to give something back. It is also important for our ILEX learners to find out what practicing law is all about. Having the opportunity to volunteer creates a strong sense of community and enhances the learning experience for everybody.”

Mature ILEX student Naomi Munro from Canton is hoping to be involved as a student volunteer in the Pro Bono Project at the College. She said, “The Pro Bono Project would give me practical experience which would develop confidence in my ability to apply theory and to put it to use. Experience seems to be crucial in this profession as employers want applicants to have had the practical experience of work. In today's market, ILEX members are competing with law graduates, so work experience sets them aside in addition to developing knowledge and highlighting areas of interest. This experience will enhance the qualifications of ILEX students at the College.”

If you are interested in partnering with the College to assist with the Pro Bono Project please contact Lorna Williams LWilliams@cavc.ac.uk