The University of Leicester has emerged as the first national champion in a legal competition devised to identify a student project of benefit to the community.
Sir Bob Geldof announced the University of Leicester as the winning team in the 2000-01 Solicitors Pro Bono Group and Law Centres Federation Student Challenge.
Pro Bono work involves giving free or subsidised legal advice and assistance to those who could not otherwise afford or obtain it. Students from the University of Leicester Faculty of Law already run a Student Legal Advice Centre for the benefit of fellow students and the current project will extend the opportunities available to Leicester students to gain practical work experience.
The winning team are; Zoe Aarons, Sarah Atherton, Clare Costello and Danielle Senter. Clare Costello is a graduate of Leicester currently pursuing postgraduate studies while the other team members are on the 3rd year of the Law LLB degree.
The student challenge, involving 80 universities, was organised by City law firm Clyde & Co and the SPBG (Solicitors Pro Bono Group). Groups of four students had to use their own initiative to research the need for a Pro Bono service in their respective areas. The teams then had to submit a report outlining ideas for the implementation of their proposed projects.
Danielle Senter said: "The general idea behind our Pro Bono initiative was to set up a completely new legal advisory service to help members of the local community. We want to strengthen links between the University and communities in Leicester."
The law students worked with Contact, the Student Community Action Group which provides a variety of outreach projects linking the University with local communities, in order to draw up their plan.
Their prize for the best idea was £500, with a further £500 to implement the plan. "It felt fantastic to win, especially as it was a complete shock", Danielle said.
The Dean of Law, Professor Robin White, said that the Faculty is very proud of these students. "This is a tremendous achievement and displays a commitment to working within and beyond the law school to plan the delivery of legal services to those of limited means", he said.
Now the four students hope to implement their plan within the next few months: "This takes quite a bit of organisation, but we already have support among the student population. Our main task will be to get members of the local legal profession committed to helping the project", Danielle added.
Note to editors: Further information can be obtained from: www.students.probonogroup.org.uk or Danielle Senter: email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the Department of Law on 0116 252 2363
A jpeg image of the students with the Professor Robin White, Dean of the Faculty of Law, is available on request.
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