Pro Bono at Hugh James

Since 2006, we’ve been working with Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics, offering its students the opportunity to take part in a pro bono scheme around the delicate issue of NHS funding for care home fees. The scheme focuses on NHS Continuing Healthcare claims and allows students to gain real-life, hands-on experience of what it’s like to work at a law firm and how cases are handled.

Find out more about the pro bono scheme and hear from active participants and members of the scheme in a series of curated videos. Watch this space as we continue to add new videos.

 

Hear from participants   about the pro bono scheme

 


Hear from participants of the pro bono scheme

Pro Bono at Hugh James - Hawys Davies

After taking part in our pro bono scheme and finishing her exams, Cardiff University Law and French student, Hawys Davies, is now joining Hugh James as a paralegal in the nursing care team. She explains the role of the scheme and how it was an invaluable part of her learning.

Pro Bono at Hugh James - Olivia Stevens

Olivia discusses how the pro bono scheme helped to teach her skills she may not have learnt through studying alone and how connecting with others on the scheme added to the enjoyment of the experience.

 

About the pro bono scheme

The scheme supports a very vulnerable section of the community, predominantly those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. These individuals often find themselves in nursing homes, paying their fees privately, where arguably they are entitled to have the cost of their care met in full by the NHS.

For the first decade, client work was the focus of the scheme. However, due to the imposition of strict deadlines, it became difficult for the students to undertake the necessary work in the requisite times so the scheme has evolved and no longer includes real client work.

Since the pandemic the team has pivoted the way the scheme is run, taking the scheme online. Over seven weeks, the students participated in weekly two hour sessions with Lisa Morgan and Katie Morgan, each week the students were taken through a stage of the NHS process on ‘dummy files’. Lisa Morgan is a Partner and Head of Nursing Care at Hugh James and has been the scheme’s supervising solicitor from the start. Katie Morgan is a solicitor and a former student of the scheme. She joined as supervising solicitor in 2019.

The sessions developed key practitioner skills from retainers, reviewing of key documents, drafting and advocacy. The sessions also included breakout rooms allowing students to work in small groups and engage with the solicitors. Homework was also set each week to reinforce the skills developed in each session.

The scheme has evolved over the years and we’re are proud to say it is one of the most popular schemes at the Law School. Since we started working with the Law School, more than 800 students have taken part and we have helped over 60 clients. The scheme has even several awards over the years including Best Collaboration between a University and Employer – NUE Awards 2017, Project Award in the Higher Education Academy Student Volunteer Awards in 2010, Student Team Award at the Junior Lawyer Division Pro Bono Award and a Special Commendation from the Attorney General’s Student Law School Pro Bono Awards).

Commenting on the scheme, Lisa Morgan, Head of Nursing Care at Hugh James, said:

“I’m very proud to support the scheme. The pandemic has had a huge impact on opportunities for students to gain the crucial insight and skills they need to forge a legal career. The scheme gives them real experience of working with clients and developing their key practitioner skills, while also providing us with an opportunity to work with tomorrow’s lawyers. The relationship between the school and the firm is mutually viable. By working with students in the scheme, it gives them first-hand experience which is a great way to begin a career in law. Work experience adds strength to a job/placement application and many of the students involved in the scheme have gone on to secure roles within Hugh James. The pride of seeing pro bono students joining the profession and forging their own careers in and out of Hugh James is one of the most rewarding.”

Katie Morgan, Nursing Care Solicitor at Hugh James, said:

“Having participated in the Continuing Healthcare Pro Bono Scheme when I was a student at Cardiff University, I know how invaluable the skills I learnt at that time have been throughout my career to date. The Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for the students to learn important client care skills and how to run a case from its beginning to conclusion. It is also an opportunity for the students to gain a greater understanding of this very niche area of law and it was brilliant to see how engaged the students were during our first session. I believe that it is important for legal professionals to “give back” to the community (now more than ever during these unprecedented times). Being part of the Scheme now, as a qualified solicitor, really feels as though I have come full circle. I am so pleased to have been given the opportunity to repay the time afforded to me by Lisa and the Scheme’s other mentors all those years ago!”

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.


Find out more about our nursing care fee recovery service on our dedicated page.

NURSING CARE FEE RECOVERY

 

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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