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SQE Intern at Reed Smith working with KIND UK

By Tahmim, Reed Smith

I am a current SQE Intern at Reed Smith and am due to start my training contract next year. I have been seconded to KIND UK for the past 6 months and have been working as part of the Central England Law Centre team.

I have been involved in pro bono since I was a student studying for my undergraduate law degree, starting in 2018. I knew it was important for me to give back and I signed up for a number of different projects at my university’s legal advice centre, including being a student adviser to members of the public on criminal and revenge porn cases, assisting on criminal appeals where there was a serious conviction and helping people apply for social welfare benefits such as personal independence payment and employment support allowance.

This work gave me confidence and experience in skills such as interviewing and advising clients, legal research and drafting. It also gave me a strong sense of empathy with my clients I worked with.

This work gave me confidence and experience in skills such as interviewing and advising clients, legal research and drafting. It also gave me a strong sense of empathy with my clients I worked with.

Pro bono was something I knew I wanted to continue throughout my legal career and so it was my top preference when selecting where I wanted to have my first Internship. When I heard I would be KIND’s first ever SQE Intern, I was excited and a bit nervous but was very happy to be able to dedicate more time to one of the firm’s biggest pro bono projects and to learn more about a new area of law.

Since joining, I have been involved in a number of different tasks as part of my placement. Firstly, I was contacting clients to confirm the details of their immigration case, and recording on the legal servers to be progressed by KIND’s specialist immigration solicitors.

It became very real for me when I was speaking to a client about her child’s citizenship status and the concerns she had about her future. I could hear the baby playing and talking in the background, who obviously had no idea about the seriousness of the situation. It brought home the real world impact of this work – and just how important taking on KIND cases is for the families they work with.

I also helped research and prepare resources on topics such as fee waivers for citizenship cases, mental health support for Ukrainian children and on global dual nationality laws. These resources will be used in future training for KIND.

This work was very topical given the recent headlines regarding immigration policy and the cuts to legal aid, which have meant that there is a significant need for this pro bono work to be done.

I have also enjoyed getting involved in KIND’s communications and marketing work where I was able to speak to lawyers at the firm to interview them on their involvement in the project and to create pro bono profiles, which will sit as part of KIND’s wider communications long-term plan. This also meant I was able to get exposure to other members of the firm which I might not normally have worked with.

It has been a fun and rewarding experience working with KIND. The work they do has a real impact on children and families, and I was proud to be part of that through this pro bono work. It was interesting to see work from a non-legal, client focussed side and I have found everyone has been very friendly, knowledgeable, supportive and passionate about what they do.

I would recommend getting involved with the KIND UK project, particularly for anyone who is looking to get involved in rewarding and fulfilling work and for some insight into this area of law, specifically nationality and citizenship issues for children.

Kids in Need of Defense UK – a unique pro bono opportunity

We provide free legal advice and representation to undocumented children and young people via our partnerships with lawyers and law firms across the country.

We offer a unique pro bono opportunity, with no immigration experience needed – all training and supervision is provided by our expert immigration lawyers.

Taking on Kids in Need of Defense UK cases means making a commitment to children and young people who would not otherwise be able to access legal representation. By partnering with KIND UK, by volunteering your time and expertise, you can help change the course of a child’s life forever.

Click here to find out more and contact us.