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KCL partners with national law firm to launch student-staffed legal advice centre

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Latest pro bono initiative to cover range of family law issues

Credit: King’s College London

King’s College London (KCL) has teamed up with national outfit Stowe Family Law to launch a free legal advice centre staffed by law students.

The new partnership will see third year undergraduate students at KCL’s Dickson Poon School of Law offer clients initial free legal advice on a range of family law issues including divorce and separation, financial disputes and cohabitation. KCL, however, stresses that the clinic cannot advise on domestic violence cases.

The volunteers — who receive training and guidance from lawyers in Stowe Family Law’s Chancery Lane office in London — will interview clients, analyse legal problems, research issues of law and produce a final letter of advice. The clinic officially launches on Wednesday (23 October).

Commenting on the tie-up, Shaila Pal, director of clinical legal education & supervising solicitor at the clinic, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Stowe Family Law on this invaluable service for the community. The need for pro bono advice in family law is considerable, with disadvantaged groups and people with limited means desperately needing specialist assistance.”

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Graham Coy, a partner at Stowe Family Law, added:

“Since the removal of legal aid for the majority of family law cases more people are having to represent themselves, frequently with disastrous outcomes. Having professional and specialist legal advice can be life-changing and make a positive difference to somebody’s future.”

News of the clinic comes less than a year after KCL struck a similar tie-up with Big Four giant PwC. The initiative, co-founded by PwC’s Kirsty O’Connor and Keily Blair, provides members of the pubic, sole traders, small business owners and social enterprises with free advice on one-off legal matters.

Elsewhere, The University of Salford unveiled its own pro bono centre earlier this month which sees law students get to grips with employment disputes, housing problems and family matters, while The University of Bolton launched a student-staffed clinic to help address what it says is the “huge gap” in free, local legal support. The University of Bristol recently expanded its student-staffed offering to help bereaved families at inquests.

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