Chelmsford Law Clinic starting at Chelmsford Civic Centre

The Chelmsford Law Clinic is a free legal advice clinic based in the Chelmsford Civic centre, open on a fortnightly basis by appointment only. The Clinic has been in development for a while, many legal charities have collaborated to help launch the Clinic. The Chelmsford Law Clinic is a LawWorks (a national legal charity that advocates for pro-bono/volunteer work in the legal industry) registered Clinic which as well as gaining access to a number of legal materials, the Clinic is also registered on the LawWorks' website found here:
https://www.lawworks.org.uk/legal-advice-individuals/find-legal-advice-clinic-near-you

I feel very passionate about the Clinic; during my time volunteering for the Personal Support Unit (another legal charity with an office in the Chelmsford County Courts) I frequently see first-hand how isolated people can feel during their legal journey. It can be very intimidating especially if you are facing against those with legal representation. I hope that the Clinic can make a real difference in people's lives by providing free 30 minute legal advice appointments so that people can understand what their rights are and identify how to proceed with their case.

The Clinic can offer only Family law advice at first; however I do plan for the Clinic to expand the service into other legal areas (such as employment and immigration) in the near future. This is contingent on establishing the demand for the Clinic and is something that I will review once the Clinic is open.

The Clinic will be operating on a fortnightly basis (alternative Thursdays) and will be operating from 10am to 1.30pm at the Chelmsford Civic Centre. The Clinic will not be able to offer any drop in sessions. To book a free 30 minute appointment a client can contact me (the coordinator of the Clinic) via the Chelmsford Law Clinic's website http://www.chelmsfordlawclinic.org.uk or via my email or phone number. I would then screen the client, prepare a case report and then book clients in for an appointment. I have attached a copy of our current leaflet which also discusses this.

There are other free legal services in Chelmsford, the Personal Support Unit as well as Citizen's Advice are two of the largest free legal support providers with a Chelmsford base. What I think will distinguish the Clinic is that the Clinic's involvement with each client will not end after the appointment. I, as the coordinator, will continue to ensure that the client understood their rights, know how to proceed and know where to go next. This will be achieved by a 15 minute debrief post appointment with me so that the client can ask for any clarification as well as weekly check in and a permanent invitation to contact the Clinic for further support.

Currently the Clinic is entirely dependent on donations. While I hope to secure funding in the near future once a board of trustees has been established, the Clinic is at the moment being funded by individual donations (which have helped to pay for the maintenance of the website/email server as well as cover leaflet/office printing costs).

This may prompt the question, why launch now if funding is scarce. The reason is that since the website went live, so many clients have already contacted the clinic looking desperately for legal help. I think it's important to get the service up and running as soon as possible to help as many people as possible.

As stated I have attached a copy of the Clinic’s leaflet, a copy of the Clinic’s logo, website link (above).

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