Gaining Legal Work Experience: Pro Bono

In my last post I talked about how you can get legal work experience by approaching law firms and Chambers directly.

You can also strengthen your legal work experience by carrying out pro bono work and there are various options to do this.

Brunel Law School has an opportunity to get involved in pro bono work with David Rosen, who is Head of Litigation at Darlingtons Solicitors and visiting Associate Professor here at Brunel. Contact Paul Richards in the UG office for more information.

You could also apply to carry out work experience with a Citizens Advice Bureau (and potentially get six months off a training contract!). Here’s a previous post from Alison Taylor, the Law Placement Officer here at the PCC for more information about that.

Then there’s Law Works, another charity which connects those who are in need of legal advice but cannot pay for it with those who can offer legal advice for free. Again, take a look at a previous post of mine for more information.

And for Level 3, CPE, LLM students and graduates, there are opportunites with the Free Representation Unit. Guess what? There’s a previous post about it!

And, if that’s not enough for you to get on with, here are a couple of other links to places where you can find pro bono opportunities:

I think that covers it for now….



Legal Work Experience: Pro Bono Opportunities

A well-rounded candidate wishing to enter the legal profession needs to have a balance of three key areas in order to attract the attention of the recruiters. Ideally you’ll be able to show excellent academics, have legal work experience and be able to demonstrate you have outside interests and activities.

Let’s focus for a moment on the legal work experience. Many of my students feel that there are just two options for getting this experience: either a vacation scheme at a top city firm or a couple of weeks shadowing at a local high street firm.

Having not made the cut onto the vacation schemes (January deadlines for a start the following summer!) students often find themselves traipsing around their local high street, handing out CVs to local firms who may or may not need a helping hand for a week during the holidays and this high street traipse often bears no fruit.

This is not the only way to gain solid work experience. Law Works is a pro bono charity which connects those who need legal advice but can’t afford to pay for it with those who can offer the advice on a no-cost basis.

The term ‘pro-bono’, by the way, comes from the Latin ‘pro bono publico’, meaning ‘for the public good’ and applies to any professional service which is offered for free to those in need.

Law Works provides opportunities for students to get some valuable (and well respected) work experience. Take a look at their latest opportunities.

Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) – experience for law students

There are over 21,500 volunteers involved in the Citizens Advice service, performing a wide range of roles.

Attention all law students: If you train as a CAB adviser, you can get up to six months off your solicitor training contracts!

If you are interested in volunteering, fill out your details on the enquiry form and your chosen Citizens Advice Bureau will contact you to discuss available opportunities.

If you have questions about CAB volunteering see our Volunteering FAQs


“I get a real feeling of satisfaction from making a difference, especially for people less able to stand up for their rights.” Sheila, Stretford CAB

Without our trained volunteer advisers we could not continue to meet the demand for advice. Our generalist advice service looks at a client’s situation holistically as opposed to looking at their problems in isolation from one another. Advisers are given free training, both formal and on-the-job. As a CAB adviser you would:

  • interview clients
  • help them negotiate with people such as creditors or service providers
  • draft letters
  • make phone calls on their behalf
  • refer them to other agencies
  • represent them in court and at tribunals.

Shortcuts! Make the most of the PCC!

This feature by The College of Law’s careers team manager Angela Smith on the site should give you some pointers on the help you can get from the Placement and Careers Service (1st Floor, Bannerman) all year round.

human rights of prisoners – volunteer opportunities

Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, worldwide.

Clive Stafford Smith, founder and director has been awarded the Judges’ Special Beacon Prize for Outstanding Philanthropic Achievement 2010 – a prize described by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the ‘Nobel Prize of the charity world’.

Reprieve recruits volunteers – see reprieve for more information.