My name is Lucy Day and I am a final year LLB Law student. Throughout my three years at university, I have volunteered for Essex Law Clinic as a case worker and more recently for various projects and a firm manager position. Volunteering at the Clinic helped me develop professionally from an early stage and enabled me to be exposed to how the law works in practice. It also exposed me to family law from an early stage, which is only a study option for third year. Volunteering at the Clinic throughout my studies has shaped my career choice and prompted my passion for family law.
When it was time to make my third-year module choices, I was certain that I wanted to study family law, but I also decided to take the placement module to aid my professional development further. I heard about a local charitable service called the Child Law Advice Service (CLAS) who provide free telephone and email advice about a range of child, family, and education law issues. This really interested me as I was considering practicing family law after graduating. I applied to CLAS for a volunteer role, and after having an interview I was successful in securing the role. This also meant that I could use my time volunteering at CLAS to gain academic credit via the placement module.
I began volunteering two days per week for CLAS. Once I had completed their training, I began advising on the phone. I advise on primarily child law issues such as contact, special guardianship and children’s services involvement. Other issues that often arise are domestic abuse, child welfare concerns and adoption. The range of issues I have advised on is wide, and this has enabled me to learn so much. Since the coronavirus pandemic, I have continued volunteering for CLAS from home providing advice via email instead, even though I have completed the hours for the placement module. I really enjoy being able to continue developing my knowledge in family law and also being able to help provide advice to often vulnerable people at difficult times in their lives.
The placement module was really insightful, and I am very glad that I chose to enrol onto it. It is unlike any other module and really focuses on gaining work-based experience and evaluating how that experience can shape future career choices. The module has enabled me to enhance my CV, decide on my career goals, and meet a wonderful team of people at CLAS who are a pleasure to volunteer for.
I would highly recommend both the placement module and volunteering for CLAS to anyone.