Portsmouth people with problems at work now have access to free, confidential employment law advice year-round thanks to a partnership between the University of Portsmouth and a local law firm.
Many people in the city have already used the clinic, run by students in the School of Law, but when students were on holiday the clinic had to close. Now law firm Verisona has stepped in to run the clinic during holiday periods and ensure it stays open throughout the year.
Law students under the guidance of tutors, all of whom are trained lawyers, open their doors to anyone wishing to discuss employment law, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, redundancy, harassment, the national minimum wage, working time regulations and work permits for migrant workers.
When the students are on holiday, Verisona steps in to provide cover and ensure the clinic remains operating for no fee.
Comments from clients who have used the service include: ‘You gave me hope. I had felt very isolated and unsupported; you have listened and given me some faith in the law’; ‘I felt listened to. You did not baffle me with legal terms’; and ‘You are offering an invaluable service to people who otherwise would not have the facility to get help and advice.’
Anne Stoneham, the clinic’s supervising solicitor from the School of Law said: “The employment law clinic aims to support the legal needs of the community, while also providing a ‘real-life’ experience for the law students.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Verisona to enable the clinic to run all year round. This is an excellent way to ensure it maintains momentum and helps support people across the city even when the students aren’t here.”
Verisona have worked closely with Portsmouth Business School for a year, including helping run the clinic and by providing work experience opportunities for law students. CEO Richard Solly mentors students and one of Verisona’s trainee solicitors, Natalie Foster, a former University of Portsmouth student, is helping current students run the clinic.
Verisona Employment Lawyer John Taylor said: “It’s a great opportunity to assist the local community as well as further our links with the University of Portsmouth.”
The employment law clinic was launched in 2010. It runs every Wednesday by appointment from 10am-1pm in the School of Law, Anglesea Building. Clients are interviewed by law students or trainee solicitors in private rooms and students then research the law under the direction of their tutors or, in the case of Verisona’s trainee solicitors, under the guidance of the firm’s solicitors. Clients are then sent detailed written advice supervised and signed by a practising solicitor. All work is confidential.
Anyone looking for employment law advice can contact the clinic by telephoning 023 9284 4080 or emailing email@example.com .