The legal services oversight regulator for England and Wales chose Northumbria Law School recently as the venue for a one-day programme of engagements in the city of Newcastle, as well as its annual out-of-London Board meeting.
Alongside a breakfast seminar with academics and North East law firms, The Legal Services Board (LSB) also visited Northumbria’s award-winning Student Law Office and met with third and final year students working on real-life cases as well as recent graduates of the office now employed in practice. As the regulator overseeing legal services in England and Wales, the LSB’s responsibilities include assuring ongoing competency levels among legal professionals and that complaints against legal services providers are well managed. Hosting its Board meetings are considered highly prestigious.
Attendees at seminar included representatives for consumers, the court service, legal academics from a number of law schools and Northumbria Law School students. Barristers, judges and solicitors from regional law firms including Womble Bond Dickinson, Samuel Phillips and Sweeney Miller were also in attendance.
Professor Michael Stockdale, Head of Department for from Northumbria Law School said: “We were delighted to host the LSB meeting, and to welcome members of the Board and other esteemed guests to Northumbria Law School. For us it was an opportunity to focus on the important role for Law Schools in not only assuring the competence of our graduates at the point of entry to the profession but also developing our students’ awareness of and capacity for lifelong learning and professional development. Opening the seminar to our students was also greatly appreciated. They all commented on what an excellent learning experience it was to meet with a diverse range of LSB members including very experienced legal professionals who gave very useful advice for their future careers.
Speaking after the visit to the Student Law Office Dr Helen Phillips, Chair of the LSB, said: “I was hugely impressed by the students that you arranged for us to meet; it was a pleasure to hear how they had benefited from being part of the Student Law Office’s work. The quality and value of the service that the clinic provides to the community was clear throughout, and the opportunity to visit the clinic was one for which the Board and I are very grateful indeed.”
Northumbria is acknowledged as having one of the most active and pioneering student law offices. In the past 10 years final year law students have represented over 2,500 clients recovering more than £1.5 million on their behalf.