Running drop-in advice services in a university setting


  • John Russell London South Bank University



In October 2011, London South Bank University (‘LSBU’) opened a new Drop-In Legal Advice Clinic where law student volunteers – working under the supervision of practising solicitors – provide free, on-the-spot, face-to-face legal advice to the general public. Our aim was to establish a drop-in advice service which would deliver a tangible benefit to the local community, develop students’ practical knowledge of the law in context, and provide a basis for developing a teaching and learning resource for other higher education institutions. In February 2012, we were highlighted in the Million+ think tank’s report on innovative teaching in modern universities, ‘Teaching that Matters’, as involving students in a valuable community service while gaining real-world legal experience, developing transferable skills and enhancing their employability prospects. In April 2012, we won a £5,000 LSBU Vice-Chancellor’s Enterprising Staff Award for our demonstration of enterprise in enhancing the student experience and employability, providing a significant benefit for the local community, and demonstrating a wider significance to other higher education institutions nationwide. The Legal Advice Clinic is now key to the marketing strategy for the Law Department. This paper describes our new service in its first year of operation.