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Teaching law firm recognised for providing free and affordable legal advice to those in need across Nottinghamshire

Teaching law firm recognised for providing free and affordable legal advice to those in need across Nottinghamshire

A teaching law firm which provides free and affordable legal advice to the people of Nottinghamshire has been recognised for its work with a Contribution to the Community Award 2020 from the Nottinghamshire Law Society.

The Legal Advice Centre at Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, sees students work under the supervision of qualified solicitors to support clients with a range of legal issues, either through modules within the curriculum, or by volunteering in addition to their study. 

As a not for profit teaching law firm with charitable status, the Centre was the UK’s first law firm fully integrated into a law school when it obtained an ABS (Alternative Business Structure) licence in 2015.

Since then, it has continued to introduce new services and practice areas in order to increase access to justice for the local community, including services for charities and SMEs and the introduction of a Special Educational Needs and Disability service.

Throughout the pandemic, when much of its work moved online, the team has continued to  provide pro bono legal assistance in a wide range of practice areas, including employment, family, business and commercial, insolvency, county court litigation, intellectual property, welfare benefits, special educational needs and criminal.

In the last academic year alone, the Centre dealt with 248 cases, assisted an additional 64 organisations via seminars and training, and provided more than 350 students with an opportunity to obtain legal work experience and develop their practical skills.

The award was received in recognition of the “outstanding” contribution to the Nottinghamshire community and the “high standards of skill, professionalism and dedication” shown. The judges also praised the Centre for its “spectacular results” on behalf of its clients; the volume of individuals and organisations supported; its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and for having reached the landmark achievement of having recovered £4million in benefits and compensation for its clients.

Head of the Legal Advice Centre, Laura Pinkney, said:

“This is a fantastic note to end the year on and is testament to team's hard work, dedication and unwavering commitment to our clients and students. Thanks to all who support LAC and our work. We are fortunate to work with great colleagues and amazing students and, in what has been a challenging year, I cannot applaud my team enough for their efforts.”

Executive Dean of Nottingham Law School, Jenny Chapman, said:

“The Legal Advice Centre is a law firm with a difference. The team are committed to providing access to justice to the local community whilst training, and inspiring, the legal professionals of the future. This award is thoroughly deserved.”

The Centre has won a string of awards, most recently including ABS of the Year in the Modern Law Awards 2020; being 'Highly Commended' for Volunteer Team of the Year at the East Midlands Charity Awards 2020; Paralegal, Jack Stuart, named as a ‘Rising Star’ in the Volunteer of the Year category at the East Midlands Charity Awards 2020; and Supervising Caseworker, Callum Scott achieving double success by being awarded Paralegal of the Year at the Modern Law Awards 2020 and also Highly Commended in the Junior Lawyer of the Year category at the highly competitive and prestigious Law Society Excellence Awards.

Visit the Legal Advice Centre website for further information.

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