12 February 2021 | Comment | Article by Lisa Morgan
This week, we met the new group of Pro Bono students from the School of Law and Politics. It is staggering to think this is our fourteenth year.
Since 2006, the School of Law and Politics, supported by Hugh James, has provided over 1,000 students a pro bono scheme focusing on NHS Continuing Healthcare.
Real client work was the focus of the scheme for its first decade and the students recovered over £300,000 for its clients.
However, due to the imposition of strict deadlines by Welsh Government, it became difficult for students to undertake the necessary work in the requisite timescales. Therefore, the scheme recently evolved and no longer includes real client work.
In normal times, students would have the opportunity to come to our Cardiff Headquarters at Two Central Square to work with solicitors and paralegals in the firm’s Nursing Care department on ‘dummy files’, which enables them to see the law in action. However, due to COVID-19 students have been unable to visit our office this year.
Despite the pandemic, we were determined to provide students with the much-needed scheme, so we are providing an online experience for students keen to explore this niche area of law. Students will still have an opportunity to work on dummy files and working with solicitors Katie Morgan and Lisa Morgan.
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.
This year, 200 students expressed interest in the scheme and 60 have been successful and accepted. The first online session was this week, where the School of Law and Politics students across the UK and international students participated.
Hannah Marchant, Director of Employability at the School of Law and Politics, said:
“We are hugely grateful to Hugh James’ Nursing Care team, and to partner Lisa Morgan and solicitor Katie Morgan in particular, for their willingness to continue to provide crucial employability and pro bono opportunities to our students, even in the difficult circumstances we are all currently operating in. We hope that this cohort of students enjoy the scheme as much as previous cohorts have.”
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!”