Arunjot Johal graduated in 2020. Arunjot talks about his pro bono volunteering, work experience placement at BDB Pitmans and his participation in the Law and Psychology Mock Trial collaboration.
Arunjot heard about the CommuniCare Legal Clinic through the Pro Bono Fair in his first year. and decided it would be a good opportunity to see if he suited a career in law. After applying and being interviewed, Arunjot was invited to take part in the programme. This involved doing some training at Shoosmiths, to learn about the IT systems and more about the role at CommuniCare Legal Clinic. He then joined the student rota and began volunteering.
"Overall, it was a really good experience. I got to conduct legal research in real-life situations, which was really helpful, as opposed to carefully constructed hypothetical questions. It has been really good in highlighting the importance of client care, as well. The clients that come to CommuniCare are individuals that are desperately in need of legal aid, so I learned better how to provide clear, concise, and straight-forward legal advice, which will benefit them as much as possible."
In Part two, Arunjot was also selected for a week's work experience placement at BDB Pitmans. Working primarily, with an Employment Law partner, Arunjot was also encouraged to reach out to other teams within the firm and provide any support that they needed.
"While I was there, I carried out various legal research activities, for example drafting assessment agreements and analysing law bundles. I also did some work for the insurance team, by conducting research to aid multiple claims, the insolvency team, by drafting a witness statement for them, and the family law team, on a divorce case."
"This really diverse and varied experience was invaluable for my legal research skills, in addition to my teamwork and communication skills, because I needed to work closely with others to complete the tasks. It cemented my interest in pursuing a legal career as a solicitor."
"It was also really good because it gave me an insight into what a law firm looks like, and the kind of work that a partner usually does." Arunjot also took part in the Law and Psychology Mock Trial collaboration. This was a one-day workshop where a number of speech and language therapy, and law, students came together for a day to learn more about the work of registered intermediaries - an independent communication specialist - supporting vulnerable people in criminal courts, and how a criminal trial works in practice.
"One of my lecturers encouraged me to sign up for this workshop. It was a one-day seminar on conducting advocacy with a vulnerable witness. It involved exercises on how to be an advocate in the court, what types of things you would do, and there was a mock trial at the end of the day."
When asked about advice for future students, Arunjot says:
"Get involved in as much as you can. At the beginning of my degree, I didn't get involved in as much as I should have, so later on I found myself scrambling for things to do. Sign up for as much as you can, so you can go out and do as much as you can from the very beginning."