Notes from LawWorks Member Clinics Round Table Meeting
Tuesday 3 November 2009, 11.30 – 13.30
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7090 7356
Sarah Cox Clinics & Students Project Officer email@example.com 020 7090 7361
Martin Curtis Head of Projects II and Project firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7090 7358
Manager for Students & Law Schools
Lavinia Shaw-Brown Project Manager for Mediation email@example.com 020 7090 7354
Megan Pearson Training Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7090 7369
Tim Atwood Individuals Caseworker email@example.com 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 www.barprobono.org.uk 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
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
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