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14 March 2024 | Firm News | Article by Lisa Morgan

Hugh James welcomes next generation of lawyers for 2024

We marked the end of our annual Pro Bono Scheme this week with a special event at our Cardiff headquarters.

The Scheme is designed to introduce the next generation of lawyers to the legal profession and 2024 has seen our largest cohort to date.

Trainees from the 2024 pro bono scheme gathered in the vista lounge of our Cardiff office

Since 2006, we’ve been working with Cardiff University, offering over 1000 students the opportunity to take part in our Pro Bono scheme which provides the opportunity to delve into the intricacies of continuing healthcare funding.

The students gained real-life, hands-on experience of what it’s like to work at a law firm and how cases are handled. The six-week placement scheme provides the opportunity to work on dummy files and develop key practitioner skills within our Nursing Care department, including client care, drafting and advocacy.

This year, we had our largest ever number of applications and welcomed 67 students onto the scheme. The final session took place in-person at our Cardiff office this week.

During this closing session, the students teamed up to deliver reflective presentations on what they had learnt on the placement.

One group of students explained that during the scheme staff had instilled energy and passion to members of the group by sharing expertise, guidance and real-life experiences.

Lisa Morgan, Partner, and Head of Nursing Care has been the scheme’s supervising solicitor since it was set up in collaboration with Cardiff University 17 years ago, making Hugh James the longest running pro-bono provider to work with the University.

She said:

“It has been another successful year, our biggest yet. I have been very impressed with the commitment, enthusiasm, and depth of talent shown by the students. They have embraced each task and demonstrated key practitioner skills including analytical, drafting and presentation. This year, we visited the students at the University for the mock hearings and I was particularly impressed with their advocacy skills. It has been fantastic to welcome the students to our office again and it gives me great pride to witness the future generation of lawyers at work. I look forward to following their future careers.”

The scheme allows future lawyers to work directly with solicitors and provides students with key employability skills. Many students who have taken part in the scheme have gone onto secure future roles within Hugh James, just like Rebecca Morgan, who participated in the Pro Bono Scheme as a student in 2021.

Rebecca is due to begin a role as a NQ solicitor alongside Lisa in the Nursing Care team later this year. She said:

“It feels somewhat full circle to be here speaking to the students as I was in their shoes just a couple of years ago. It was a bit surreal but, on reflection, I feel like I’ve come a very long way. It’s nice for students to see I started in the same position as them, I took part in the Pro Bono scheme which encouraged me to then go on and apply for the Summer Placement Scheme too. For them it must be nice to see the potential route they could take to further their career and use the skills they’ve gained in applications and interviews going forward.”

One of this year’s students, Jasmine Dempsey said:

“The Pro Bono Scheme has been really informative and highlighted an area of law I haven’t considered before.  I live with three junior medics so that’s helped a lot with terminology and expanding my knowledge. Since taking part in the scheme, I have applied for other jobs focused on the NHS which I wouldn’t have considered before. The six weeks has flown by and it’s been so lovely to all be together during the final session, in person, and see behind the scenes at Hugh James.”

One group of students explained how they enjoyed working together and having the opportunity to work alongside people they may not have crossed paths with outside of the scheme. They felt that collaborating in a group context not only allowed for the sharing of various viewpoints, but also encouraged the creation of new relationships, which added to the vibrant and rich learning atmosphere.

Two international students took part in the scheme this year; Hamdan Hamdan from Jordan and Feroz Qureshi from Pakistan. Hamdan said:

“The final in-person session was really rewarding and insightful. It was a chance to step out of our comfort zone.  We’re not used to advocating or presenting but now realise the importance of such skills.  Putting them into use in front of a big crowd was challenging, but also really fun.”

Feroz added:

“Taking part in the scheme has been a very unique experience, I’ve learnt lots of transferable skills. I enjoyed presenting at the Hugh James office. It was a big deal coming here and I was very impressed by the building.”

Hannah Marchant, Director of Employability at the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University, said:

“The School of Law and Politics is hugely grateful to Hugh James for allowing the final pro bono session to take place at Two Central Square. Students were extremely fortunate to hear from previous pro bono students Rebecca Morgan, Joanna Bredif and Ellie Jones about how the scheme helped them to obtain their roles at Hugh James, and from Matthew Evans, Partner and Training Principal at Hugh James, who talked about what the firm is looking for in trainees.

Opportunities to interact with legal professionals in this way have been very limited in recent years, and the School would like to thank Hugh James for facilitating this.

Each year, the scheme has such a positive impact on so many students, and this year was no different. Many thanks to Hugh James – we are looking forward to working with you again next year.”

Former pro bono scheme student, Joanna Bredif added:

“To any future students, I would advise them to throw themselves in at the deep end and always keep an open mind. Try and push yourself; get involved in group discussions and ask questions. Make sure you do the homework that is set and enjoy the process because it’s only a six-week placement and you can gain so much in that time.”

Pro Bono Scheme

If you’re interested in taking part in the Pro Bono scheme, Cardiff Law School usually publishes its schemes in the autumn and students can apply directly through the University. Read more about the scheme here and hear from current employees of Hugh James who reflect on their time as students on the Pro Bono Scheme years ago.

Author bio

Lisa Morgan


Lisa Morgan is a Partner and Head of the Nursing Care department. She is regarded as an experienced and specialist solicitor leading in the niche area of continuing healthcare.

She has been instrumental in developing a niche legal department in Hugh James, which comprises of 40 fee earners who solely act for the elderly and families in recovering wrongly paid nursing fees.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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