2024 Volunteers’ Week: More Than 50 Years of Impact 

While we celebrate our 50th anniversary year, we are reminded that our journey towards ensuring access to justice would have been impossible without the support and commitment of our volunteers.  

This Volunteers’ Week, we celebrate their invaluable dedication and the profound impact they have made on our community. 

“Since the founding of the first south-west London Law Centre in 1974, volunteers have held down the fort, and ensured the community is not left without legal advice and representation. Over the past five decades, volunteers have made it possible for us to reach impressive milestones, contributing their time, skills, and passion to help those in need.”
Stacey Edgar, Deputy CEO  

Our volunteers come from many different walks of life, bringing with them a wealth of experiences and a shared belief in access to justice. Their work goes beyond practical tasks and extends to meaningful relationships rooted in compassion and community empowerment. The support our volunteers provide is life-changing for many of our clients, often during some of the most challenging times in their lives.  

Here are some of their stories: 

Asad Islam

“As someone who has decided to opt for a recent career change in the legal field and is currently finishing a law conversion course, I volunteer at SWLLC to gain experience in the legal arena and prepare myself for a career in law.” 
“I initially started volunteering with the reception team, assisting with calls and queries from people seeking free legal advice from our pro-bono clinics. This role provided a great entry into legal experience, helping me understand how to engage with clients and direct them to the relevant departments within SWLLC. Later, I moved to the Cost-of-Living Department, where I assisted debt clients with benefit checks, grant applications, and third-party calls. This hands-on role allowed me to take a more personal approach to assisting SWLLC’s clients.” 
“Volunteering at SWLLC has been a crucial entry into the legal world, especially coming from a non-legal background. Both roles have helped me develop the mindset required to be a good lawyer, enhance my interpersonal skills with staff and clients, and hone the meticulous attention to detail needed in the legal profession.” 

Brian Patrick Ribeiro Gouveia

“I decided to volunteer at SWLLC after completing my final assignment for my Law undergraduate degree. Eager to put my theoretical knowledge into practice, I found this opportunity online. Motivated by a desire to give back to my community and help those without access to legal assistance, I saw this as the perfect chance to gain practical experience, develop my legal skills, and make a meaningful impact.” 
“I volunteer with the Debt Team in the Croydon office. Thanks to my supervisor, Andrew Boba, I’ve undertaken tasks like client contact, reminding them to send necessary documents, and assisting in drafting write-off request letters. These early responsibilities have boosted my confidence and sharpened my practical legal skills, showing me the direct impact of my work on clients’ lives.” 
“Volunteering hones the skills I will need in my future career as a Commercial Solicitor. Drafting legal documents and engaging in client correspondence have enhanced my attention to detail and communication skills. Additionally, helping my community fills me with great pleasure and reinforces my desire to continue supporting the Law Centre.” 

Yusra Toorabkhan  

“I volunteer as an administrator, aiding the Law Centre’s receptionist by answering calls, booking clients with volunteer advisors, and directing queries to the appropriate teams. I volunteer to help the community as much as I can. Through this role, I’ve learned to understand the daily issues our community faces. This rewarding experience has taught me skills like confidence in answering calls, email etiquette, dealing with difficult cases, and team building.” 

“I am studying for a law degree, aiming to further aid our diverse community. I am grateful to SWLLC for this opportunity and encourage others to volunteer as well.” 

. . .

The cornerstone of SWLLC’s work is breaking down barriers to ensure access to justice for all. The commitment of our volunteers enables us to handle a larger caseload and deliver comprehensive legal services to those who might not otherwise receive support. We foster a culture rooted in community and care, where everyone plays a part in reimagining better access to justice in the UK legal system. 

If you’re interested in volunteering with our Law Centres, we’d love to hear from you! Please see our current volunteering opportunities or contact us at volunteers@swllc.org

Half a century of delivering quality legal support and dedicated to a century more.