Students pursuing a career at the Bar are strongly encouraged to, where possible, volunteer for pro bono services. These activities are vital for building up practical advocacy and client facing skills, legal knowledge and gaining insight into the legal profession. Beyond the obvious value of practical experience, volunteering will furnish your CV and enhance any scholarship or pupillage applications you will make and provide you with personal real-world examples to cite and discuss in interviews.
Below are a list of organisations Middle Temple can endorse and encourages students to work with:
Advocate is the Bar’s national charity which helps to find pro bono legal assistance from volunteer barristers for those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay.
Casework Volunteering Programme
Remote volunteers help our Casework team every day. As part of our Academic Year Programme, our volunteers commit to one day a week for four months. We also have a Summer Volunteering programme, which lasts for one month between June and August and is a commitment of four days a week.
The Casework Volunteering programme presents a fantastic opportunity to obtain unique exposure to a wide range of areas of law and learn a great deal about the needs of litigants in person.
The Casework Volunteering programme is split into two streams: the Gateway Stream and the Allocation Stream.
Volunteers assist the Casework Team with the following tasks:
We run three Casework Volunteering Programmes each year:
Application is by way of an online application form which is available on our website when recruitment goes live.
Testimonial from previous Casework Volunteers
“Volunteering with Advocate allowed me to be part of ensuring that some of the most marginalised members of our society have legal recourse. The casework team at Advocate made my whole experience enjoyable by remaining welcoming and accessible despite the remote working environment.”
"Volunteering with Advocate was fulfilling on multiple levels. Firstly, having the opportunity to help vulnerable people navigate the complex justice system is incredibly satisfying on its own. As a volunteer, I got the chance to follow a case from its earliest stages at application level to the final stage of finding it a barrister. The team made such an effort to update us on cases that were meaningful to us, which helped us see our contribution in practice. Secondly, working for Advocate broadened my career mindset. Coming from a commercially-minded university, it was reassuring to see that a legal degree can come to various uses. Finally, the work in itself and the support I received from the team boosted my confidence in my skills and I recommend this experience to all future lawyers."
Hear from our recent Bridging the Bar Intern, Miah, here: https://weareadvocate.org.uk/news/bridging-the-bar-miah-speaks-about-her-time-interning.html
For more information on the casework programme, please visit our website: https://weareadvocate.org.uk/volunteer/office-volunteering.html
FRU (Free Representation Unit)
The Free Representation Unit (FRU) is a charity that provides legal advice, case preparation and advocacy in employment, social security, and some criminal injury compensation tribunal cases. Their clients could not otherwise obtain legal support for want of personal means and public funding. To provide this service they train volunteer law students and legal professionals in the early stages of their career in the skills required to give confident and competent support for the rights of others. Volunteers give their time for free, so whilst the FRU try to cover as many cases as possible, they cannot always guarantee representation. You can find out about how to become a representative by visiting the Volunteers section of their website.
Find out more about The Free Representation Unit and how you can volunteer.
You can listen to David Abbott, CEO of the Free Representation Unit, talking to Daniel Barnett on the LBC Legal Hour, discussing what the FRU does, how volunteers are trained and how to clients can contact FRU.
Support Through Court
750 volunteers provide a free service across England and Wales, offering support and guidance before, during, and after court. They ensure that those facing court alone feel prepared and supported in accessing justice.
Vocalise harnesses the enthusiasm of current law students to bring the benefits of debate training to inmates across London. Aspiring barristers are trained as debate ‘mentors’ over the Michaelmas (Autumn) term. Mentors who successfully pass the end-of-training ‘bootcamp’ are then able to begin teaching inmates from January. In past years, we have partnered with HMPs Pentonville, Downview, Thameside, YOI ISIS, Feltham and Wandsworth.
Read more about this unique volunteering opportunity here.