WHAT IS “LEGAL CLINICS”?
Legal Clinics is one of the longest running branches of the PBG, and has been in existence since the founding of the PBG in 2005.
WHO DO WE WORK WITH?
The project has recently expanded to take on more clinics and currently recruits volunteers for:
Legal Clinics works with the Pro Bono Services Office to carry out community clinics on a weekly basis. These clinics are often the first stop for applicants who are unsure about how to proceed on their cases. The clinics held each week include:
- Northwest CDC (Woodlands) – Every Monday
- Southeast CDC (Paya Lebar) – Every Tuesday
- Southwest CDC (Jurong East) – Every Wednesday
- Central CDC (Toa Payoh) – Every Thursday
During the school holidays, PBSO accepts interns who take part in the CLAS Office attachment – this attachment is a two-week commitment which takes place at the PBSO Office at the State Courts. Further information about this opportunity will be posted on StartNowLaw closer to the holidays.
Migrant Worker Clinics
Community Club Clinics
The Community Centre clinics are held to provide residents living in the area with basic legal advice, and are generally held monthly. The clinics on offer include:
- Potong Pasir – First Monday of the month
- Thomson – Last Saturday of the month
- Braddell – First Monday of the month
- Chong Pang – Third Tuesday of the month
- Kembagan-Chai Chee – Fourth Monday of the month
- Woodlands – Second Tuesday of the month
- Jurong Spring – Last Thursday of the month
Besides working with the various community centres and PBSO, PBG Legal clinics also recruits volunteers for several other clinics which reach out to different beneficiaries, some in specific areas like Muslim Law (SCWO Clinic). These clinics include:
- SCWO – First and Third Mondays of the month
- NTUC LawWorks – Third Thursday of the month
WHAT TO EXPECT?
Generally, volunteers who attend the various clinics will get the opportunity to sit in on clinic consultations between volunteer lawyers and clinic applicants. Volunteers will help to take case notes and assist in various administrative matters at the clinics. Through this process, student volunteers will interact with clinic applicants as well as lawyers, getting insights on how to apply theoretical knowledge to real world situations and learning more about community law.
As a student volunteer, you may also enjoy the opportunities of choosing the cases that you want to sit-in to listen to! For example, our freshman members may choose to attend more contract law cases and get to witness how contracts are reviewed in real life to solve employment-related issues. Meanwhile, second years and above may choose to attend cases regarding property law or company law, or other relevant modules!
To sum up, what you could expect to gain from volunteering at the legal clinics would be:
- A better understanding of the legal aid schemes available in Singapore;
- Becoming more empathetic listeners and learn to ask questions effectively;
- Being exposed to legal knowledge and observe how lawyers give advice to applicants in legal clinics by sitting in and taking notes; and
- Refining your written and oral advocacy skills.
Time Period and Commitment: If you are a PBG member who has chosen to be a part of Legal Clinics for the semester, you will be going down on alternate weeks during that semester, which is around 6 times per semester. In short, you will be going down to one of the Community Legal Clinics twice a month, which usually happen on a weekday night. You will be required to help the volunteer lawyer on duty take notes while he/she advises the client.
More importantly, you are expected to fully commit to this project once you sign up, and turn up for every session. This means you are expected to turn up for every assigned session even if that happens to be during the exam period.
In the event that you are unable to make it on a certain day due to a last minute appointment, you are allowed to make mutual swaps, but please keep us informed. You are also expected to be punctual and turn up appropriately dressed.