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Pro Bono Week: Supporting people struggling with drug addiction

Press release issued: 6 November 2019

As part of our Pro Bono Week series we talked to Law student, Hannah Sinclair, about her role in the Law Clinic's Bristol Drugs Project that helped her #DoMoreWithLaw

What is Bristol Drugs Project?

Bristol Drugs Project works with charities and the drop-in center is run at that charity. The clients come in and they typically have housing problems or just want to talk through issues that they think someone should be listening to and someone should be trying to help them. It’s typically housing but there's lots of other issues that can arise as well and what happens is we talk through the legal issues quite quickly that has very immediate helpful effect. But then if the issue is raised and requires more important more looking through then be taken further by those students as a case.

What have you learned from Bristol Drugs Project?

What I’ve personally taken from Bristol drugs project is the exposure that it's given me to people that I wouldn't usually meet its really allowed me to see things from different perspectives and to develop my own personal maturity and confidence and it’s just allowed me to understand a wider variety of people and being in University and surrounded by happy students is fantastic, but there's a whole other side to Bristol that I wouldn't have been able to see if it wasn't for Bristol drugs project.

What made you decide to study law at the University of Bristol?

When I looked around Bristol my mum and I actually end up missing all the tours, but luckily a tutor picked us up and actually toured us round Berkeley Square so we got a pretty hands-on tour and got see the law clinic there in all its glory. It was the first time I’d heard of pro bono work and after that I was really interested and I've looked into it as soon as I got here. It really drew me how making law and Justice more accessible to people who really need it.

How does the Law Clinic enhance your other Law studies?

What makes Clinic different from just studying law is you really get a practical hands-on that you get to see real cases you get exposure to real clients and that's beneficial for you. But you can also see how it's benefiting the community around you and I think coming to Uni you're immersed in a new community and it's just nice to be able to give something back from using your studies in your skills that you've learnt to put something back into the community.

What’s it like at the Law Clinic?

I've always worked well with other people and find it's really great to have that support of a partner, especially when like throughout the case, you get to know them better. The staff are amazing. They are there to help you at any step of the way and they love to help you, they always just say just ask and it is always better just to do that and the more experienced members of the clinic are so helpful as well.

What advice would you give to students considering working with the Law Clinic?

My advice to someone who's interested in the law clinic is to have a look at the application, look at the questions they ask and see whether after you've come up with your answers whether you think you're really are interested. And for me, I just liked the idea of making the law more accessible to people who need it.

How important is Pro Bono?

I didn't really know much about law before I started here but one thing that I did know is I knew the purpose of it, at least in my eyes, was to protect people and that I thought was really important because people who needed the law weren't able to access that protection without the help of experienced lawyers. I think pro bono really does help in filling that gap and that's what made me really want to get involved with it from the off.

What are your future plans?

I'm in third year right now and over Christmas break I'm going to be applying to do the BPTC for my next year.

Further information

Pro Bono Week is an annual occasion to recognise and celebrate the valuable voluntary contributions of lawyers giving free legal aid to those in need. Find out how you can #DoMoreWithLaw

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