Student experience: Queenet Awesu reflects on skills gained through her involvement with the Clinic

This year Queenet was awarded the Fairweathers prize for her Outstanding Contribution to Kent Law Clinic

I vividly remember the first day I heard about Kent Law Clinic. It was during a Welcome Week presentation by Clinic solicitors. I was so interested in what was said and the cases that the Law Clinic was dealing with that, like many other law students, I was keen to get involved.

During the last three years of my law degree I’ve helped in the office and taken part in the weekly Clinic meetings. I have also attended some evening advice sessions where external solicitors and barristers volunteer their time and expertise to give advice to members of the public seeking help for various types of legal problems. After the advice sessions, students discuss the cases with one of the lawyers in the Clinic and present interesting cases at the weekly Clinic meeting. I have twice given a short presentation about a case at a Clinic meeting. My enthusiasm for the experience in the Clinic led me to choose the Clinical Option module.

Clinic meetings are always thought provoking and interactive! I enjoyed learning about different cases that the Clinic was dealing with, being asked what my thoughts were and being part of the discussion exploring the issues. The Clinic meetings can be entertaining as well as interesting, while respecting the fact that often we would be discussing serious issues affecting people’s lives.

I learned that a lot of people know little about the law; some people have high expectations of what can be achieved while others are not aware of their rights. It can be very rewarding to be part of the process in achieving a good outcome for a client.

The Clinical Option module is very different from other modules – it’s more hands on and I love that. At the same time, being involved in the Clinic helped me in my approach to studying for other modules. I felt better able to identify the relevant issues, the relevant law, and how the law can be applied. In the Clinic you also get to reflect on the wider context – including the barriers that can make it harder for people to achieve justice. For my dissertation I explored aspects of immigration law and (having worked on a case on this issue), the process for children needing to apply for settled status or British citizenship.

I’ve been able to use the skills I’ve learnt at the Law Clinic at law firms that I’ve volunteered at and they’ve been impressed. The Clinic has helped prepare me for the next stage in my law career. I’ve been able to make mistakes and learn from it, it has almost been like a safe zone for me. I’ve been able to get a better understanding of the law. I’ve also met some really nice people at the Clinic who I still talk to!

See: “Art of being critical” helps aspiring barrister Queenet Awesu secure £13k Middle Temple scholarship