Volunteers play an important role at Legal Services Agency. As well as the volunteer programme in our Women and Young Persons` Department, LSA often recruits volunteers to work on a variety of other projects.
Volunteers at LSA receive a unique insight into the day-today work of a busy human rights focussed organisation, an opportunity to develop legal knowledge in a variety of different areas and the chance to become a valued member of our team trusted with important and interesting work.
Law Graduate Ewan MacPhillimy describes his experiences as an LSA volunteer:
“I worked at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for 11 years as an admin assistant, case worker, team leader, decision maker and finally as a casework manager responsible for about 4,000 cases.
I studied law part time at Strathclyde University while working, then left the CICA to do my post-graduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and pursue a career in law.
After I finished my degree I did a voluntary placement at Govan Law Centre assisting with repossession casework. Since then I have volunteered with Victim Support and the Witness Service in Paisley as well as work experience placements with numerous firms in Glasgow.
As well as volunteering with LSA, I write legal content for websites for a company called Network Legal.
I was invited to come to LSA to help with CICA claims and was keen to come and use my skills and experience in this area. Having worked with a law centre before I wanted to expand my experience and see how LSA worked. I knew of LSA long before when working at the CICA and they have a very good reputation.
My work mainly involves analysing existing claims and providing reports to assist solicitors in handling cases. This might be on procedural casework issues, complex eligibility rules or loss of earnings calculations. I also see clients occasionally and have attended a tribunal hearing. My work extends to practical casework tasks like writing letters and email and making telephone calls. I have also carried out an extensive updating and expansion of LSA’s guidance booklet on CICA claims. Of course I have also been able to sharpen my photocopying and faxing skills too.
Law centres provide an essential public service with public funding, the legal equivalent of a GP practice (or in some cases an A&E department). There is a great need for legal assistance in fundamental areas like eviction, repossession, mental health, benefits, debt and consumer rights. I like being involved in legal work that deals with major life issues and helps vulnerable people with little personal resources to avoid serious hardship. I’m proud to be involved with an organisation that contributes so much to the community in so many ways.
The work I am given at LSA is challenging and is helping me to develop my skills. I have learned more about how a law centre works, and have benefitted from the opportunity to meet and interview clients. I have attended a CICA tribunal hearing, assisted with seminars and re-written LSA’s CICA publication.
The work I have been exposed to and the responsibility I have been given are of great value to me, having undertaken some very basic tasks in other placements.
Future volunteers should be encouraged by the fact that LSA really benefits from the work you do and takes you seriously as a member of the team. You can benefit from high quality front-line experience if you are willing to accept a challenge and put in the effort.”
To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please visit: