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As Pro Bono Week draws to a close, we look at how we as a firm have helped to provide access to justice over the past 12 months to individuals and organisations who would otherwise be unable to access advice and celebrate the achievements of our team.
Katie Whitehead, an Associate Solicitor in our Litigation team, provides free legal advice to landlords and tenants at a Huddersfield based clinic run by the local university.
The initiative, which Katie has been involved with since 2015, was set up by the Law School to help bridge the ever-increasing gap between those who do not qualify for legal-aid and those who can’t afford representation.
Commenting on why she has continued to work with the clinic, Katie said: “As legal aid eligibility has reduced over the years, there are more and more people who are unable to afford a solicitor and so who are without access to different and more complex areas of law. Specifically for me, I assist in the landlord and tenant legal clinics. This is an area of law which is very complex and there have been a significant number of changes in the law in at least the last 5 years. Those who do not have the means of instructing a solicitor need assistance.
“For me, doing pro bono work gives me the opportunity to work with those within the community where I live and work and gives me a chance to help those that may otherwise not be able to access the right information.”
The charity offer free and confidential information and advice services for older people, their family and carers. Both Laura and Stephanie attend these sessions to help provide the service users with advice on wills, powers of attorneys and estate planning amongst other things.
Commenting on the clinic Stephanie said: “The charity offers vital help and support to our elderly community and being able to host a free legal clinic for their providers is a great way to enhance the services available and provide legal support which may otherwise not have been available to them. I really enjoy being involved with the charity and I am pleased to be able to help support our local community in a small way.”
Laura added: “Often people have already researched these matters and just need confirmation that their understanding is correct or want pointing in the right direction. Some people want reassurance that either their situation can be dealt with legally or that they don’t need to take any further action such as making amendments to a will when a beneficiary has passed away. I always enjoy leaving a clinic knowing that I have helped people and families understand their situation and the options they have available.”