The University of Law (ULaw) has become the first academic institution to be granted an alternative business structure (ABS) licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
ULaw said the licence will allow it to expand its legal advice clinic at the Bloomsbury branch in London, where trainee solicitors provide legal advice on a pro bono basis to members of the public in various areas of social welfare law, supervised by solicitors.
The time spent at the clinic forms part of ULaw’s trainee litigation programme for those training at firms or businesses which cannot offer the required dispute resolution experience. Emma Douglas, the solicitor who runs the programme, is the ABS’s head of legal practice and head of finance and administration.
Nottingham Law School recently announced that it was applying for an ABS licence for its legal advice centre, but this is aimed at students.
John Latham, the president and CEO of ULaw, said: “Being the first university to be granted an ABS status means that we can provide trainees and our law firm and in-house clients with a market-leading proposition that will equip the trainees for the legal and commercial challenges they will face in today’s workplace.
“Being able to provide practical experiences in a client-facing environment is a fundamental part of the training needed for aspiring solicitors. Our legal advice clinic enables us to offer a pivotal service and sets us apart from other legal training providers and underlines our continuing commitment to give our trainees a distinct advantage that helps them stand out from the crowd in the competitive legal market.”