Sheffield Hallam University has broken new ground, in education and the law by launching SHU Law – a fully-regulated law firm designed to give law students real life work experience during their studies.
Whilst it is common for universities to establish ways of exposing students to the practicalities of advising on real-life legal cases, Sheffield Hallam is the first university to offer a law degree that incorporates legal work experience into every year of the course.
SHU Law will enable the University to incorporate work-experience into the core curriculum of its undergraduate Law and Law and Criminology degrees, and its post-graduate LLM.
By launching its own not-for-profit teaching law firm, the University is not only educating students about the practicalities of working as a lawyer on ‘live’ cases, but also delivering legal services to the community of Sheffield and the surrounding area.
SHU Law is the innovation of Professor Elizabeth Smart, head of law at Sheffield Hallam University, who has set up the firm with the assistance of experienced solicitors Sally Mallinson-Ayres and Rebecca Draper. All the students working at SHU Law will be fully supervised and trained by Sally and Rebecca who are employed and work full-time at the law firm.
Professor Smart said: “By placing our students at the centre of a live client clinical environment we are creating a unique learning opportunity that’s reflective of real-life practice.
“Sheffield Hallam is committed to providing applied learning opportunities for its students in order to help them succeed at whatever they choose to do.
“SHU Law will enhance their employability and graduate attributes in the world of work and inspire students academically and emotionally with the confidence to succeed. Legal education is nothing without a strong dose of commercial acumen.”
SHU Law was licensed by the SRA on 7th January 2019. The University has converted one of its buildings on Broomgrove Road in Sheffield into a modern office which includes a reception, interview rooms, call centre, back-office and lecture room where students will work on cases.
Around 750 law students will pass through SHU Law during the lifespan of the degree courses. In the first year, as part of their introduction to law and practice, students will undertake six-weeks’ ethics and induction training at SHU Law.
They will return in their second year to work on contentious, non-contentious, public legal education, practice policy and research and law in practice; and again, in their third and final year.
SHU Law has received a huge amount of support locally from other law firms with whom the plan is to work collaboratively – extending their network of support for clients and students.
SHU Law will be formally opened at a reception event on Wednesday 27th February by Professor Sir Christopher Husbands, the Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University.