One of the projects run by the CELC and Warwick LinC is an Immigration and Asylum Clinic. One of our former students reflects on his experience volunteering with this important resource
David Metin – Immigration and Asylum Clinic Volunteer 2021/2022
I had the privilege of working with the Immigration and Asylum team at the Central England Law Centre (CELC) during the 2021/2022 academic year.
Even before I officially joined the CELC, I benefited from applying to this opportunity as all the students that had been invited to the interviews were given feedback on how we can better prepare for future applications. My main takeaway was that it is essential to research the organisation you are applying to and what your work would entail. Following the feedback, the volunteers received an induction session by Robert Bircumshaw and Enela Selimi. They outlined what our tasks would entail and provided oversight of relevant immigration laws that would be relevant to our work. I found this session incredibly useful and returned to the recording whenever I was stuck on a task. If I couldn’t find an answer to my questions in the recording, I would contact either Rob or Enela, who were always there to provide us with support for any questions or issues we may have had. They both also understood our workload at university, did their best to accommodate our needs, and made us feel like a part of the immigration team at CELC.
After our induction, we were split into teams of two. We were given a variety of tasks, including filling Exceptional Case Funding applications and helping people fill applications for their Biometric Residency Permits. I enjoyed conducting legal research and creating briefing documents for the cases the clinic was working on, as this aligned with my skill set and what I wanted to do in my professional life. The diversity of tasks ensured that I could develop a diverse range of skills and experiences that have made me a well-versed candidate for future opportunities.
I also appreciated the fact that we could attend meetings with clients. One of the main reasons I wanted to join the clinic was to play my part in helping people to navigate our complex immigration and asylum system. Attending meetings with clients allowed me to recognise that even as an undergraduate law student, my work could still directly impact those in need, which made me more invested in my work at the clinic.
My time at the clinic has not only allowed me to confirm my interest in working in the human rights and immigration field in my professional life, but it has also made me a more desirable candidate for future employers. I ended up securing a vacation scheme at a law firm that works on human rights and immigration cases and was told how my experience at the CELC made me stand out. Indeed, not only did my time at CELC demonstrate my interest and commitment to working in human rights law, but it also outlined how I had already developed the skills necessary to complete the vacation scheme. Indeed, many of the tasks we completed at the clinic, such as completing forms and conducting legal research, were similar to my work during my vacation scheme.
Being able to work from the office was an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the day-to-day work of solicitors and paralegals. It allowed me to confirm that this would be my ideal career path. I also had the opportunity to discuss people’s professional journeys and learn more about the potential paths I might take following graduation.
Overall, my time at the centre was insightful and valuable. I would recommend anyone interested apply for an opportunity to volunteer with the LinC immigration and asylum clinic .