What are co-curricular activities?
Co-curricular activities are all the additional activities that as a School of Law student you are encouraged to participate in. They include pro bono projects, mooting, negotiation, mediation, and client interviewing competitions.
Leading law firms sponsor some of the competitions and offer training to participating students as well as work experience placements to the winners.
There are no costs involved for those students participating in competitions and co-curricular activities due to the generous donations we receive from our alumni.
Why take part in co-curricular activities?
As well as giving you more opportunities to interact with fellow students, taking part in these activities enables you to:
- develop interpersonal skills and build your confidence
- enhance your CV and employability prospects
- benefit from the training and experience offered by law firms
- make friends and have fun outside of the classroom.
And if you are fortunate enough to win a competition, you may be offered work experience by the sponsoring law firm.
Pro bono activities
We host one of the largest pro bono programmes in England and Wales, giving you the opportunity to work, on a voluntary basis, with local charities and other institutions. You will give legal advice and support to real people with real problems.
An annual Pro Bono Fair, usually held in the autumn term, attended by local organisations and charities, provides students with the opportunity to discuss volunteering and placement possibilities.
What are pro bono activities?
Pro bono is the term used for the voluntary legal work which lawyers, and law students, undertake without payment. This can be to individuals, charities, or community groups who cannot afford to pay for legal help. The work may involve providing legal advice or representation.
Most law firms carry out pro bono work, as it helps them to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities and make a meaningful contribution to their local community.
At Reading, we have a diverse range of pro bono programmes; you can choose a project which matches your interests, ability and availability.
Why take part in pro bono activities?
As well as being a highly rewarding use of your time, pro bono experience enables you to:
- develop interpersonal skills and confidence, in a real-world context
- experience the practical application of concepts and cases taught in your law subjects
- recognise your interests and the direction in which you wish to take your legal career
- enhance your CV and employability prospects
- connect with the community, and build links and relationships with people in the legal and charitable sectors.
In recognition of the sizeable commitment many students make to pro bono work, final-year students are able to count their experience towards a full 20-credit Pro Bono and Professional Practice module.
Pro bono projects
Recent pro bono projects include:
- Freedom Law Clinic: a six-week training programme giving students an invaluable insight into the criminal legal process. Students can develop an in-depth working knowledge of complex or evolving legal issues whilst working on client cases, under the guidance and supervision of qualified lawyers and caseworkers.
- CommuniCare Legal Advice Clinic: a volunteer-led charity, that runs a monthly pro bono legal clinic and is overseen by Shoosmiths LLP. Students have the opportunity to act as advisers supported by local practitioners.
- Resolve Mediation: a small local organisation with specialist mediators who offer mediation services to individuals and families to resolve conflict in neighbourhood, family and workplace settings. Each academic year, they provide training to 40 law students. Upon completion of this training, students can take part in real mediation cases in the community.
Past students have also volunteered with Citizens Advice, Thames Valley Police, Launchpad, Resolve Mediation, Streetlaw, Access to Law, Amicus, Launchpad, and Reading Community Court.
Types of co-curricular activities and competitions
The annual Client Interviewing Competition aims to promote and develop the skills of law students through client interviewing in an educational context.
The competition is essentially a 'mock interview' role play involving a client whose legal needs must be identified and assessed.
The winners go on to represent the School of Law at the National Client Interviewing Competition.
The Negotiation Competition sets pairs of law students up against one another to negotiate a fictional scenario on behalf of their clients.
Students are judged on how well they work as a team, their communication skills, and the outcome that they negotiate for their clients.
The winners also go on to represent the School of Law at the National Negotiation Competition.
Boyes Turner, a local law firm, provide the training and sponsor the competition.
Moots are mock legal hearings or trials, where you take on the role of counsel and present arguments on a point of law.
Mooting involves a lot of research and analysis, the preparation of written submissions and an oral presentation.
Students are required to argue either for or against a hypothetical decision, referring to relevant case law precedents, and put forward a legal argument in the most convincing way.
Litigation, the process of taking legal action, is not the only way to resolve disputes, another technique is mediation.
Students undertake commercial mediation training provided by BDBPitmans, where they take it in turns to mediate a variety of problems and role-play the parts of a variety of difficult and needy clients – just like real life.
A team of three students represents Reading in the national Mediation competition.
The ability to network is a necessary skill for virtually any job but for aspiring lawyers who have to make commercial contacts, gain new clients and impress existing clients it is vital.
Each year, a group of approximately 40 students from all year groups visits the Reading offices of Osborne Clarke to learn, from professional lawyers, key survival tips and tricks for networking.
Students then use their new skills to meet and talk to unknown members of staff at Osborne Clarke.
Why study law with us?
With teaching from leading academics, excellent graduate career prospects, and an exciting programme of co-curricular activities, we can help you to excel.
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How you'll study law
Our exciting curriculum combines academic rigour with practical legal experience and exclusive placement opportunities, enabling you to gain valuable transferable skills and build a successful career.