Notes of the Second Clinics Round Table Meeting

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					                        Notes from LawWorks Member Clinics Round Table Meeting

                                     Tuesday 3 November 2009, 11.30 – 13.30

                                               Taylor Wessing
      Present:             Firm/agency               LawWorks Member Clinic involvement
      Rachael Agnew        Bar Pro Bono Unit
      Bob Ashcroft         Kaplan Law School         Kaplan Legal Advice Centre/St Luke’s Legal Advice Clinic
      Chris Benson         Taylor Wessing            Blackfriars Settlement
      Tina Buchan          Nabarro                   St Luke’s Legal Advice Clinic
      Eddie Coppinger                                Bethnal Green Legal Advice Centre
      Floyd Harty                                    Paddington Law Centre
      Elizabeth            Nabarro                   St Luke’s Legal Advice Clinic
      Alice Kemp           Slaughter and May         Battersea Law Centre, Islington Law Centre, RCJ Advice
      Alison Klarfeld      Berwin Leighton Paisner   Sonali Gardens
      Paul Yates           Freshfields Bruckhaus     Dellow Day Centre, Morden (South West London Law
                           Deringer                  Centres), ASAP, Tower Hamlets Law Centre Evening
                                                     Surgery, RCJ Advice Bureau

     Useful LawWorks Contacts:

        Name                             Title                               E-mail                    Telephone
Richard Harrison        Project Manager for Clinics        020 7090 7356
Sarah Cox               Clinics & Students Project Officer               020 7090 7361
Martin Curtis           Head of Projects II and Project           020 7090 7358
                        Manager for Students & Law Schools
Lavinia Shaw-Brown      Project Manager for Mediation      020 7090 7354
Megan Pearson           Training Officer                      020 7090 7369
Tim Atwood              Individuals Caseworker                   020 7090 7355

     1 – Bar Pro Bono Unit

     Rachael Agnew, a caseworker from the Bar Pro Bono Unit, gave a brief introduction to the Unit’s
     work and outlined when it might be suitable for clinics to refer clients to the Unit for further
     assistance and how to go about doing this.

     For more information please visit or get in touch with Rachael –

     2 – Advice Skills

     LawWorks asked attendees whether it may be useful to introduce an advice skills session which
     included case studies to the training programme.

One firm has recently conducted an advice skills session which included case studies in-house for
its clinic volunteers and said that they had found it very useful and that they felt it was particularly
good for trainees and those who have never volunteered at a clinic before.

Another firm suggested that it may also be good to have a factsheet or guide on advice skills with
examples from different types of clinics. It was suggested that this could be compiled from
contributions from a variety of firms involved in clinics.

LawWorks agreed to look into this and also to look into altering its usual advice skills training
session to include a section on case studies.

3 – Client Feedback

A firm raised the issue of client feedback and queried how clinics run by other firms/advice agencies
go about obtaining it.

It was agreed that obtaining feedback is always difficult, particularly as it is difficult to separate good
advice and the client liking the advice. For example, the client may say they felt the advice was bad
because they didn’t like it and it wasn’t what they wanted to hear. It is also hard to establish the
impact of the advice on the client’s problem if they are giving the feedback immediately after the
appointment. Both these issues make it hard to get a true reflection of the service provided.

The possibility of obtaining feedback from clients a few weeks/months after the appointment was
raised but an advice agency pointed out that some clients often have very chaotic lives and may not
feel comfortable giving feedback at a later date and may not give positive feedback if the advice did
not result in the outcome they hoped for.

A firm also pointed out that it is virtually impossible to track people and outcomes effectively over a
longer period of time.

Another firm suggested that case studies are a much better way to see how people have been
helped by clinics and that clinics should look at trying to gather more of these.

An advice agency said that it hand out leaflets at its clinics in which it encourages people to let them
know how they got on. Some do and some don’t, but the agency felt that it was good to keep it
optional. A firm mentioned that they are considering doing something similar in their clinic to
encourage feedback and case studies from clients.

4 – Snapshot of Clinic Activity

LawWorks proposed that for 2 weeks in 2010 it undertakes a snapshot of clinic activity, which will
require all clients attending a member clinic to complete a simple form which would include
questions on race, religion, age and sex so we can try and build up a picture of who is using the
services. LawWorks would recruit volunteers to assist with in clinic receptions with the completion
of these forms and would compile the information into a report afterwards which would be made
available to all member clinics.

No objections were raised to this proposal and two advice agencies said they thought it was a good
idea. A couple of advice agencies also highlighted that they already gather this kind of information
and would be happy to provide LawWorks with it when needed.

5 – Outreach Services

An advice agency queried whether there are many outreach clinic services as this is something they
would like to look into setting up.

LawWorks gave examples of clinics set up to help specific groups of people and of telephone
advice clinics which reach people in more remote areas. LawWorks agreed that outreach clinics are
in theory a good idea but pointed out that insurance can be a stumbling block and needs to be
considered first.

It was agreed that GPs’ surgeries would be great places to reach new clients and that if a clinic
could not be set up at the surgery then it might be possible to put in place some kind of referral
service so that patients can be directed to a legal advice clinic if they need legal help. However, a
firm also highlighted that this type of client group may often have a lot of welfare benefit issues
which may be difficult for some firms to deal with.

LawWorks suggested that if the advice agency finds a specific group that it would like to help
through an outreach service then to let us know and we will see what we can do to assist.

6 – Business Advice

LawWorks has recently been considering its position regarding pro bono advice for small business
and raised the issue at the Round Table to see if clinics think it is an area LawWorks should be
helping in.

A firm representative said that small businesses are not a client group their clinics currently advise
and said they felt that it is a policy issue. They also suggested that it might not be right to take work
away from small high street firms and queried whether it could be legitimately called pro bono.

LawWorks asked what small businesses should do who are fearful of instructing a high street
solicitor due to the risk of building up unmanageable costs.

A firm representative suggested that it might be good to put some kind of guide together for small
businesses which would outline how you deal with a law firm, what you’re entitled to etc.

A couple of clinics said that they do occasionally help small businesses but that it would depend on
the issue as to whether they would assist. For instance they said they would not give a small
business advice on how to fire someone.

7 – Other useful LawWorks links

LawWorks Clinics Map

Individual Casework Applications

Mediation Applications


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