By Sam Howlett, Essex Law Clinic Student Director
A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking on BBC Essex Radio, alongside two of my fellow students Haley Mason and Megan Green, and our supervisor, Liz Fisher Frank. It was a fantastic opportunity to speak about the work the Clinic does, and to spread the word.
We were all nervous. However, the presenter (Rob Jelly) was lovely, and it was an important opportunity to represent the Essex Law Clinic. We began by speaking about what enticed us to study law and went on to say where we would like it to take us in the future.
However, the main bulk of the conversation surrounded the work that we as students do to help the community and those in legal need, ranging from some of the important projects students are involved in, to the advice letters we produce to help clients in need of legal advice, to our outreach programmes (which will hopefully be back running soon once restrictions allow). This work is absolutely essential to the surrounding community, and hopefully by talking about it, it will reach an even wider audience who may also require our help.
We also spoke about the growing need for clinics due to the cuts to legal aid made by LASPO 2012, and how difficult it was for some clients to find any legal advice. Not many lay people are aware of this until they are faced with a need to find advice or representation – it’s an important part of public legal education to spread this knowledge so that people are aware of what they can do, are entitled to and where to go before their need is at a critical point.
After this, I was invited back by the producer to be a part of their Hashtag Essex panel for a week, where four young people aged 18-30 get together to discuss issues pertinent to them. It was a great opportunity to speak about things that really matter to me such as gender issues. It also creates a foundation for more in-depth discussions. The radio show is always open to new people putting themselves forward for this panel, which happens Monday-Thursday 7-8pm, so please email BBC Essex if you think you would be interested – you can bring any topic of your choice to discuss!