Nottingham Law School has expanded its 'teaching law firm', this time allowing students to offer 'affordable' guidance for charities, businesses and entrepreneurs.
Students will be guided by supervising solicitors who will provide advice on topics including choosing the right business structure, understanding how to comply with employment law and protecting intellectual property rights.
The Legal Advice Centre is regulated as an alternative business structure by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It was set up in 2015 giving students the opportunity to provide legal pro bono advice but the upgrade to the commercial arm will allow students to work with businesses. The commercial arm was launched on 19 May.
Nick Johnson, director of the legal advice centre, said: ‘The number of people in self-employment is growing, as is the number of small to medium sized businesses, and legal costs can take a significant amount out of what may only be a small budget.
‘This new service offers affordable access to initial legal advice on a whole range of topics, while also giving our students valuable commercial skills and experience.’
Professor Janine Griffiths-Baker, dean of Nottingham Law School, added: “The acquisition of an ABS licence has allowed the centre to expand and while our main focus is still pro bono, we’re now able to offer additional services for a small charge – with any profit going back into the work of the centre.”
Earlier this year, the Gazette reported that law students were being encouraged to offer their services as paid McKenzie friends, under an initiative set up by a law undergraduate and supported by BPP Law School and the University of Westminster.
The online platform, called McKenzie Marketplace, claims to provide students with ‘paid in-court legal work experience’. It was set up by Fraser Matcham, a law student at the University of Westminster.
However, the universities later distanced themselves from the project claiming they supported students coming up with their own initiatives but had given no official backing.