What are you looking for?

7 March 2024 | Firm News | Article by Lisa Morgan

Hugh James employees’ experiences of our Pro Bono Scheme as students during the pandemic

Since the Pro Bono Scheme at Hugh James was first launched 17 years ago, hundreds of students have taken part in the six-week work placement led by the Nursing Care department. Many of those aspiring legal professionals went on to begin their careers at the firm and are still with us today.

The next, and final, two colleagues we’ll hear from both took part in the Pro Bono Scheme at different stages of the Covid pandemic. This meant their learning environment was turned upside down and was rather unusual compared to the 67 students currently taking part this year.

Considering the restrictions at the time, work experience opportunities were extremely limited, so the Pro Bono scheme was a perfect opportunity for those students to gain practical skills and obtain invaluable work experience that was otherwise unavailable during such a unique period. Nevertheless, both employees managed to secure roles within the firm and credit the scheme as the reason why they have been successful in progressing their careers in law.

Rebecca Morgan took part in the Pro Bono Scheme in 2021 which was held online due to the pandemic. Given the climate at the time, Rebecca wanted to take part in as she saw it as a fantastic opportunity to gain some real experience of working with clients and developing her skill set as well as gaining an insight into the firm which appealed to her.

Following an enjoyable experience on the Pro Bono Scheme, Rebecca went on to secure a place on the Summer Placement Scheme where she had the opportunity to sit within the Nursing Care department and further immerse herself in the day-to-day life of the team.

Since completing both schemes, Rebecca was offered a training contact in 2022 and has now accepted a role as an NQ solicitor within the Nursing Care department for September 2024. As the Pro Bono Scheme was her first experience of the legal world in real terms, this feels like a full circle journey. She said:

“My experience on the Pro Bono Scheme very much carved my current career at Hugh James and law in general as it was my first insight into the firm and gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge about this niche and specialised area of law. I felt that taking part in the scheme would give me a real flavour of how the law would be applied in practice, and the chance to gain new perspectives on social problems remote from previous experiences.

“My fondness for the work, and this area of law in particular, was further consolidated during the second seat of my training contact where I completed a seat within the Nursing Care department and had the opportunity to manage my own caseload, progress my own files, prepare appeals and submissions and also participate in and represent clients at current assessments and local resolution meetings. The skills I had gained therefore on the Pro Bono Scheme were invaluable.”

Another colleague who took part in the Pro Bono Scheme during uncertain times of the Covid pandemic is Tori Keyte who participated in 2022, during her third year of her law degree. Following the Pro Bono Scheme, Tori was offered a paralegal role in the Nursing Care department where she worked prior to starting her Legal Practice Course which she believes contributed to her successfully achieving her Training Contract at Hugh James. Tori is now coming to the end of her first seat in the Trusts and Estates department. She said:

“I owe my career at Hugh James entirely to the Pro Bono scheme. The scheme confirmed to me that Hugh James had a culture I endeavoured to be a part of, one of high quality, intellectually challenging work in an environment that is supportive and inclusive. My progression through Hugh James has been supported and encouraged by staff at all levels. I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to progress here and look forward to continuing to develop in such a fantastic firm.”

During the Pro Bono Scheme, Tori learned the importance of Continuing Health Care and has seen, in hindsight, how invaluable the scheme is to students as it provides insights to private client matters that generally aren’t provided in academia. She said:

“The ability to work with professionalism, efficiency yet also compassion is a skill I have taken into my career with me today. The Pro Bono scheme encouraged me to develop interpersonal skills that are vital to a career in law but are not necessarily evoked in the academic setting of a degree. It taught me how to deal with sensitive matters and provide compassion to clients yet offer pragmatic and strategic approaches to their matters.”

What advice would they give to future students taking part in the scheme? Rebecca said:

“They will get the chance to gain a real insight into the niche area of law where they will have the opportunity to develop key practitioner skills which they will use throughout their legal careers and will help set them apart in applications.”

Tori added: “Expect a really invaluable and interesting few weeks and to be exposed to new and unfamiliar concepts and embrace them to become a better legal professional.”

After hearing from the six colleagues who participated in the scheme over the years, it is clear how valuable the Pro Bono Scheme has been to so many students who have taken part and were lucky enough to begin their career journey at Hugh James; some whose careers are just beginning and others who have never looked back.

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 find out how the students who took part last year found the placement.

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.


Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us