Law students volunteer with Oxfam’s Junior Lawyers Against Poverty

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Junior Lawyers Against Poverty

Two Law students at Oxford Brookes have been chosen to serve on the steering committee of the recently launched Oxfam’s Junior Lawyers Against Poverty.

The new Junior Lawyers Against Poverty project is a derivative of Oxfam’s Lawyers Against Poverty initiative and is overseen by a total of 14 Law students from eight universities across the UK.

Iulia Mirzac, who graduated in July, and Rachel Kimberley, a second-year undergraduate Law student at Brookes, were nominated to join the committee by one of their lecturers.

On why she chose to get involved in the project, Rachel said: “Sometimes lawyers can get a bad name for being very money orientated and I wanted to help show another side. On my gap year I worked for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and I loved it – I was able to make a real difference to the people whose lives I got to guide and stand up for.

This provides an excellent opportunity for law students to work alongside legal professionals in order to make a difference to people in need due to poverty.

Dr Shirley Shipman, Principal Lecturer in Law, Oxford Brookes University

“With Junior Lawyers Against Poverty it’s the same; we’re trying to relieve poverty, give people access to justice and let people know they’ve got legal rights.”

The Lawyers Against Poverty project is based on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the activities of the Junior Lawyers Against Poverty steering committee will focus on issues in developing countries that are currently affiliated by Oxfam. The main issues the project will work with are relieving poverty, achieving justice, improving recruitment and retention of women in law, and improving access to resources for Law students.

Rachel continued: “My role is sponsorship chair, so it’s up to me to raise the money we need to carry out our various ventures. We’re planning a twinning project with law students from other countries, so we’d like to raise enough money to travel out to Tanzania and visit the students we’re planning to twin with. We’re also planning to send them out some textbooks which they can then donate to libraries that under under-resourced.”

Several Oxford Brookes Law students have been working with Lawyers Against Poverty since late 2015 to conduct research. The School of Law at Oxford Brookes also hosted a breakfast seminar for lawyers involved with the project during Lawyers Against Poverty Week in June. The students, with the backing of the School of Law, are launching a pro bono scheme in September in order to open this to all Law students who wish to be involved.  Students will be able to undertake small research projects and will work towards hosting a pioneering Ted-style conference early in 2017 in conjunction with the School of Law and Oxfam’s Lawyers Against Poverty.

Dr Shirley Shipman, Principal Lecturer in Law, commented: “It is a privilege to be involved from the outset with this exciting Oxfam initiative.

This provides an excellent opportunity for law students to work alongside legal professionals in order to make a difference to people in need due to poverty.”

More information about studying Law at Oxford Brookes University can be found on the School of Law webpages.

Pictured: Second-year Law student Rachel Kimberley.