I chose to complete my 70 hours of unpaid placement at Citizens Advice as I wanted to experience a law related workplace that helped everyday people, rather than a high-profile law firm. I found out about this placement after a presentation from a CAB member at a seminar during my work placement module in my second year of study. I chose CAB because I think going into a career in law, it is important to experience different types of clients, such as the formal and paying clients of a lawyer, but also the everyday clients who struggle with problems that you may experience yourself one day.
Clients at CAB sought advice for problems such as debt, money, housing, benefits, family etc. All which can be relatable at some point in a person's life, which made it interesting to gain experience on how these issues can be solved. On the placement I shadowed the staff while they were holding meetings with clients and then followed the process of how the client’s issues are solved, which includes getting in touch with any relevant bodies such as housing officers, courts etc. I also got the chance to lead interviews with supervision, which brought to my attention how hard it can be dealing with clients as the problems they present can be very unpredictable.
Although the placement at first may not sound that interesting, it completely opened my eyes in relation with how often people struggle with daily issues that have huge impacts on their lives and it was very rewarding seeing problematic issues being solved for clients. The wide range of issues that are dealt with at CAB goes unrecognised as I had not realised beforehand the amount of work that is put in by the staff to help people, which is all unpaid for by the clients.
The placement was rewarding as I went back to university knowing that I can use my degree and skills in a career that helps many citizens in need of advice.