The Law Faculty at Griffith College Host 2022 student Free Legal Advice Clinic (FLAC) Conference
FLAC is an independent voluntary organisation that offers free legal advice to the public, promoting equal access to justice for everyone. There are currently eight student FLAC societies (including Griffith College) operating in universities around Ireland. Student FLAC societies are run by students with the support of a qualified solicitor or barrister. The main purpose of student FLAC societies is to operate information clinics where the student population can come and receive once-off legal information from qualified practitioners who supervise law students. For students who want to get involved in using their growing legal skills to help others, it's a great way to become more socially active and aware.
As part of the law-related extracurricular activities, Griffith College has a student FLAC panel where law students can volunteer. The FLAC student panel allows students to gain experience researching and providing legal guidance to others, who don’t have a background in law and are unfamiliar with legal proceedings.
On Tuesday 26th April, the student FLAC panel at Griffith College hosted a virtual 2-hour conference attended by a wide range of students, alumni and staff, where they discussed the following five topics:
- Accessing the Court System
- Domestic Violence
- Immigration Rights
- The Personal Injuries Assessment Board
- Employment Rights and the Workplace Relations Commission
The student FLAC researchers presented the different legal topics, with a Q&A session after to encourage attendee interaction. The purpose of the conference was to provide attendees with general information on a wide range of legal topics and recent developments.
There are 12 participating members on the Griffith College student FLAC panel. The panel includes students from both campuses, Dublin and Cork, and across all law programmes, the Diploma in Legal Studies and Practice, LL.B. (Hons) and LL.M. The student FLAC panel is guided by Siobhan Clabby BL, extracurricular mentor with the Law Faculty at Griffith College. In preparation for the conference, Siobhan guided the students in their research, drafting and organization of the event while offering advice on how to effectively deliver their presentations.
Alice Hopkins, a second-year LL.B. (Hons) student, is a member of the FLAC student panel. Alice speaks about why she decided to join FLAC:
“I decided to participate in FLAC because I'm really interested in ensuring that law is assessable for everyone. The legal system can be quite complicated to comprehend. People shouldn’t have to study law to know how to navigate the legal system and I believe there’s a need for increased public awareness from groups putting this free information out there."
She added: "Hosting a live webinar about legal topics is a new experience for me. Participating in FLAC helped to improve my organization and public speaking skills. It also helped me to prepare for a career in law since the process approached the use of legal skills from a different angle than that of my regular study.
I would 100% recommend other law students to go join the FLAC student panel, even if you don’t wish to present, it is good to witness the research from start to finish. Regular support from the law faculty also aids your professional improvement.”
Alice also shared her hopes of participating in more extracurricular activities in the future.
“There are many law-related extracurricular activities available to students at Griffith College. Next year, I would like to join the Advocacy Society which focuses on debating, mooting, and negotiation. I am also keen to volunteer for the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is a 10-credit elective module in year three of the LL.B. (Hons) where students can become caseworkers and offer their recommendations on specific cases.”