Volunteer at LSA

volunteer handsVolunteers 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:

http://www.lsa.org.uk/lsa.php?id=60&n=2

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Power of Attorney Leaflet Launched

Powers of Attorney LeafletLSA’s Mental Health Legal Representation Project launched a new Powers of Attorney leaflet this week.  The event is the first of 25 special events planned in 2014, to mark LSA’s 25th Anniversary.

Launched at LSA’s Glasgow offices, speakers included LSA’s Ronnie Franks, Sandra McDonald of the Office of Public Guardian, and Dr Donald Lyons from the Mental Welfare Commission.

Entitled “Powers of Attorney: Planning for the Future”,  the leaflet is designed to be an easy to read guide to making a Power of Attorney in order to assist people thinking of making a Power of Attorney.

LSA acknowledges that too few Scots have a power of attorney in place. Often making these plans is on the to-do list but never gets done. The problem is particularly concentrated in  Glasgow.  In recognition of this LSA are part of the ‘Start the conversation’ campaign run by Glasgow Social Work Services and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde which has been launched across Glasgow City to raise awareness about the importance of having a Power of Attorney granted to a trusted relative or friend.

LSA hopes the leaflet will encourage people to start the conversation  about the benefits of appointing an Attorney. and will also answer questions that people may have about who can set up a Power of Attorney, who can be an attorney, considerations when choosing an attorney and information about registering a Power of Attorney.

The launch event highlighted not only the dangers of ignoring the issue  but also the inherent risks when Powers of Attorney are not drafted properly or the person did not have capacity to instruct a Power of Attorney at the time.

LSA’s Mental Health Representation Project is a specialist project committed to providing  high quality and trusted legal advice to people who have mental ill health, dementia, acquired brain injury or learning disability, their relatives and carers and has expertise not only in drafting Powers of Attorney but in challenging these.

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To view the publication online please visit: http://www.lsa.org.uk/docs/Powers%20of%20Attorney%20leaflet%202013.pdf
For paper copies please contact our office on 0141 353 3354.

Related links:
http://www.poastarttheconversation.org.uk/
http://www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk/
http://www.mwcscot.org.uk/