New project brings legal support to streets of Leeds
The collaboration, between Leeds Beckett University, BPP University Law School in Leeds, the University of Leeds and the University of Law, is called StreetLeeds and aims to promote understanding about legal rights and responsibilities to individuals who would not otherwise have access to legal knowledge or education.
Introduced to the legal profession at an event at Eversheds LLP Leeds earlier this month, the StreetLeeds project is set to hold its official launch in the community in early February 2016. So far, 16 Leeds lawyers have joined the project as mentors and will be supporting the students and providing them with guidance on skills such as presenting and audience engagement.
Many law schools across the UK run Streetlaw programmes, which give students the experience of working with schools or prisons in offering legal support. The universities interviewed more than 30 key service providers in the city and established that there was a great demand for similar legal help to be made available to the wider Leeds community. This demand came not just from the users of these services, but from the service providers themselves, who want to better understand the legal issues facing their clients so they can more effectively signpost them to the appropriate support.
The StreetLeeds project will develop links with a number of service providers in Leeds, including groups for vulnerable young people, the homeless, travellers and the older community.
Deveral Capps, Head of the Leeds Law School at Leeds Beckett University, commented: “Leeds Law School is delighted to be part of StreetLeeds, which is a groundbreaking project for Yorkshire. Whilst the Law School has been running Streetlaw for some years, working with the other educational institutions in the city presents such great opportunities. We will be able to share our good practice and learn something from others.”
Chris Ripley, Associate at Eversheds LLP, added: “StreetLeeds is a great opportunity for the Leeds legal market to join together and collectively give something back to the community. The collaborative approach of both education institutions and law firms involved in this project is great and I’m sure this spirit of co-operation will play a part in its success. My colleagues and I are looking forward to being part of this exciting project.”
Professionals in practice and law students from across the city will work in partnership to provide relevant and engaging Streetlaw sessions that will educate and empower disadvantaged and vulnerable communities across Yorkshire, tailoring them to the needs of each individual group.
Legal practitioners in and around Leeds are welcome to join this new project. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: The StreetLeeds team (l-r): Herabans Kaur (University of Leeds), Sabeeha Khan (University of Law), Ann Blair (University of Leeds), Emma Blackstone (BPP University Law School), Inder Hunjan (Leeds Beckett University) and Teresa Aksamit-Hollingworth (Leeds Beckett University)