The Birmingham office of national law firm Mills & Reeve has marked the beginning of a new term at the Birmingham Free Legal Advice Group (FLAG).
The firm, which runs the legal advice service in conjunction with the University of Birmingham Law School and No5 Chambers, hosted a reception at its offices on Colmore Row to ring in the new academic year.
Birmingham FLAG is a free legal advice clinic run by law students from the University of Birmingham, supervised by lawyers from Mills & Reeve and barristers from No.5 Chambers. The pro bono initiative, which has been running since 2010, aims to help individuals in the community who cannot afford access to legal advice. Birmingham FLAG offers free advice on various issues, ranging from matrimonial and family disputes, civil litigation and employment law, to bankruptcy and insolvency.
Last year, Birmingham FLAG provided advice to more than 60 people in Birmingham.
The group runs two free advice clinic sessions every week during the University of Birmingham’s term times. There are currently more than 100 law students involved with the scheme, which is designed to provide them with invaluable hands-on experience.
Hayley Simonds, trainee solicitor at Mills & Reeve and chair of Birmingham FLAG, said: “Against a backdrop of cut-backs in legal aid, the FLAG scheme has become a lifeline for many people in and around Birmingham. It has continued to grow year-on-year with students vying to get involved with the group.”
Dr. Bharat Malkini, lecturer at Birmingham Law School and director of FLAG, said: “Not only does FLAG provide an important service to people in the local community, but the invaluable contribution of practitioners from Mills & Reeve and No5 ensures that tomorrow’s lawyers are getting excellent training from dedicated professional volunteers.”