Volunteer

DLS are currently recruiting volunteers. If you think you have relevant skills then please get in touch with us and we will contact you if something becomes available. Please find below further details for current opportunities:-

Triage Volunteer

The Triage Service takes all incoming calls from disabled people who are looking for advice. Volunteers in this team provide a vital and important function, and as such it is the main area in which DLS takes in volunteers.

There will also be the opportunity to assist where possible with cases and dealing with clients.

As a busy legal practice, Volunteers are always welcome and will work as part of a small team dealing with a range of administrative, office management, accounting and events related tasks.

Volunteers Needed for Advice on Dealing with Goods and Services Discrimination

Whilst we are able to provide factsheets in the area of Goods and Services Discrimination, our current resources do not enable us to provide a helpline.  We would like to do so and are interested in recruiting volunteers to help us.  Are you an experienced lawyer looking for a new challenge and willing to learn a new area of law?  Or perhaps you are already expert in this area and willing to help us out?  If so, please be in touch with us.  We would like to offer a helpline on one or two days a week and any support that you can provide in achieving this aim will be greatly appreciated.

Information for Prospective Volunteers

General information

Volunteers play a crucial role within Disability Law Service and their involvement in our work is highly valued by all DLS staff. In return we hope that we give our volunteers valuable experience of working in a busy legal environment.

What would I get out of the experience?

Apart from being part of the vibrant DLS family, our volunteers also have the opportunity to join in internal and external events and meetings with DLS staff, and can attend internal training sessions.

If volunteers have any views or ideas about the work we do or how we do it we are more than happy to listen to their ideas and implement any we feel would enable us to help disabled people even better than we do at present.

All volunteers are entitled to claim reasonable travel costs over and above what they would usually spend on travel.

How do I get involved?

If you are interested and think you have relevant skills please email us at advice@dls.org.uk and we will send you a copy of the relevant application form.

Personal data that you provide will be dealt with in accordance with our privacy policy which can be found here.

Request A Callback

Volunteer Profiles

Paula Poniatowska

Background: (Education, work)

City, University of London, Candidate, GE LLB (International Program)

University of Toronto, H. BA

Majors: Criminology & Law, Ethics & Society 

Communications Officer – Canadian and American Law Society in London (CALS)

GE LLB Student Representative for the Academic Cohort 2016-2017

Pro-Bono Community Placement – Disability Law Service London (DLS)

Why did you choose to apply to volunteer at DLS?

The decision to apply to Disability Law Service (DLS) for my pro-bono community placement was highly influenced due to my interest in Employment and Community Care Law. This charity sparked my interest for the reason that it provided free legal advice to disabled people, helping those that are marginalized and stigmatized and most in need. I am a personal believer in fostering community solidarity and initiatives that help demystify the law and provide individuals with the appropriate resources and legal information to fight for there legal rights.

What work are you doing for DLS?

I am part of the volunteer student network that partakes in triage calls for the charity. Calling back clients, providing free legal advice and information about Community Care Law. The role is centred on being able to talk to clients and figure out what the legal issues are and what options are available to the client. Most of the time student volunteers need to partake in legal research or guidance from an onsite paralegal or solicitor.

How do you think the experience has helped to improve your skills?

Volunteering at DLS has provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge in the following areas of UK law: Employment, Community Care, and Discrimination. This has given me an international perspective on both common law systems: the Canadian and English Legal System. Furthermore, it has been a great experience in terms of learning how to communicate with all sorts of clients under stressful situations and being able to mediate the conversations into fruitful results. It is a rewarding feeling when you spend 30 minutes on the phone with a client and are able to provide helpful advice, information, and support leaving the client feeling greatly appreciative and hopeful. This experience has helped me visualize what it would look like from a practical setting working as a lawyer and having to engage with clients on a day-to-day basis. I would certainly encourage young aspiring lawyers to volunteer; you are able to apply your theoretical knowledge in a real professional practical setting. The skills I learnt at DLS such as: mediation, problem solving, time management and legal research are skills that I will be able to take with me throughout my legal career. Being apart of the DLS team has been a rewarding and positive experience! Charities like DLS are an integral part of society, which promote community solidarity!

Geoff Temme

Geoff Temme

Background: (Education, work)

I’m 45 years old.  In my late thirties I took a change of direction in my career and began studying law and legal practice.  I worked in a small government agency and was lucky enough to obtain a transfer into its legal team.  I have a master’s degree in academic law and I have passed the Legal Practice Course. I’m close to completing qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive.  

Why did you choose to apply to volunteer at DLS?

I believe in social justice and equality of opportunity.  Volunteering at DLS gives me the opportunity to help people tackle disadvantage in those respects.

What work are you doing for DLS?

I’m working in social care.  I help people to access their rights to social care support and to find solutions when care support system goes wrong.

I may shortly be transferring into the employment law team.  DLS offer a free legal representation service on employment law cases. DLS are willing to let me casework in that team to help me complete my qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive.

How do you think the experience has helped to improve your skills?

Volunteering at DLS has helped improve my 1-2-1 communication and client skills.  Our telephone enquirers can be parents seeking help with their children’s care needs, or adults seeking help with their parent’s care needs, or people seeking help with their own care needs.  And because it means so much to people (the quality of life of their children and parents) – people feel under pressure to make a difference and feel frustrated when things go wrong.  Volunteering at DLS has improved my listening skills, my explaining skills and my ability to relate generally.

Ellie Abramov

Background: (Education, work)

MA (Scottish) in Politics, University of Edinburgh.
MA in Human Rights Studies, Columbia University.
GDL, BPP University (in progress).

Why did you choose to apply to volunteer at DLS?

Having an autistic brother means I have been exposed to the legal barriers for disabled individuals first hand. I therefore deeply value the work of organisations such as DLS in empowering those with disabilities and their carers to demand the rights they are entitled to. I have also an academic interest in disability law as I wrote my Master’s thesis on police use of force against cognitively disabled individuals in the U.S. Volunteering at DLS was a great opportunity to utilise my current skills in a legal area which I feel passionate about, while also developing my legal knowledge and skills to aid my future career.

What work are you doing for DLS?

I have been helping the MS legal officer answering calls, taking down client details and writing notes on their specific legal issues. I have had the opportunity to write a factsheet on the effect of work on benefit entitlements and a sample letter for employers and local businesses requesting reasonable adjustments. I have also been writing submissions for tribunals to appeal decisions on social benefits, including Personal Independence Payments and Employment Support Allowance.

How do you think the experience has helped to improve your skills?

Volunteering at DLS has exposed me to areas of law such as community care, employment discrimination and social benefits. I was not only unfamiliar with these areas of the law but I also know that these important topics are not covered in legal education and therefore the knowledge I have acquired is especially valuable. I have also enhanced some general skills that I know will guide me in my future career. I have gained experience in listening and engaging compassionately with clients who are often in especially stressful and sensitive periods in their lives. I have also developed my ability to research legal issues, sift through important documents and pick out pertinent information, and ultimately construct a reasoned argument for the tribunal that presents the client’s needs and interests.

Ben Lattimore

Ben Lattimore

Background: (Education, work)

Freelance Web Developer, BA Persian (SOAS | University of London)

Why did you choose to apply to volunteer at DLS?

Having two autistic brothers, and being involved in supporting them for as long as I can remember, gives me a deep personal interest in organisations like DLS.

I hope to transition from web development to law in the next 5 years and DLS seemed like a great way to utilise my current skills in a legal environment that fits so well with my personal interests.

What work are you doing for DLS?

My focus has been on boosting the social media presence of DLS, and maximising social media’s unique ability to provide more people with access to the services that DLS provide.

How do you think the experience has helped to improve your skills?

Working with DLS, I have been able to explore the breadth of what social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide – especially making use of analytics to guide future content creation.

Beyond just my hard skills, my time with DLS has fully opened my eyes to both the large and small barriers that restrict access, not only to justice but other vital services, to people with disabilities.

Samson Dawodu

Samson Dawodu

Background: (Education, work)

Birkbeck College, University of London (2013-2016)

Bachelor of Laws (LLB).

Why did you choose to apply to volunteer at DLS?

The reason I chose DLS was because of the reputation of the charity and the opportunity to get some legal experience. DLS has a fantastic reputation for providing excellent legal advice to those in greatest of need. I wanted to be a part of that service – and get the chance to learn some fantastic skills from DLS’ excellent team!

What work are you doing for DLS?

I have been fortunate to enough to have participated on many projects. Whether it has been providing advice over the telephone or helping to construct a contract, my time has been well spent. What currently occupies my time is assisting DLS’ manager of corporate partnerships in securing further funding, which has been fantastic for gaining business experience.

How do you think the experience has helped to improve your skills?

The experience has been very helpful for many reasons. Firstly, my communication skills have improved greatly as you are forced to communicate with a wide-range of people. Often, simple and clear language is the best method no matter the audience. Secondly, the approach I take to tasks has drastically improved. For example, I have learned excellent tips for ensuring whatever your task, whether creating contracts or writing a piece of research, that you are producing something which can take care of the best interests for those whom it is for. All in all, my time at DLS so far has been very beneficial for my professional development. I have had the opportunity to learn from a great team. The fact that DLS is a charity means that the sort of knowledge and skills which it possesses are unique in the legal world. I believe that uniqueness has given me distinctive skills that I can take with me throughout my career.

Since May 2017, we are happy and excited to announce that Samson has joined the Disability Law Service team as a part-time Legal Assistant, working in both corporate partnerships and the social care department.

Oscar Sotiriou

Background

I’m studying to complete my LPC at the University of Law in Bloomsbury and I hope to qualify as a solicitor in the near future. I obtained my GDL from the University of Law in September 2017.

Why did you choose to apply to volunteer at DLS?

The reason I chose the DLS was because I believe they are making a real and positive difference in people’s lives and I wanted to be a part of that team while having the opportunity to gain hands-on legal experience.

What work are you doing for DLS?

I’m currently volunteering in the welfare benefits department, where I give telephone advice to callers and actively participate in preparing welfare benefits appeals.

I interview clients, research relevant law and write submissions to the upper tribunal. The experience is very rewarding and I’m continuously learning and improving on skills that I believe I will continue to use all through my legal career.

How do you think the experience has helped to improve your skills?

I feel more confident and capable when speaking to clients face-to-face and over the phone, or when writing routine emails and advice letters. I’ve improved my ability to carry out legal research and by writing many submissions to the court I feel much more confident handling legal issues.

The client oriented kind of work also puts you in contact with a very wide variety of people, and as a result I’ve learned to be more empathetic towards people and understand their problems and – at times – more thick skinned as well.

My experience at the DLS overall continues to benefit my professional skills, and the team consistently supports me in getting through the learning curve of an inexperienced law student and has given me the freedom to take time off to study or to adapt my schedule to my needs at the university. This is truly an amazing work environment.

What do our current volunteers say about DLS?

“Volunteering at DLS has been a worthwhile experience for me as I have been able to improve my skill set. Not only am I advising callers on a variety of issues but I am doing so in a supportive and friendly team of professional legal advisors. Each call is different to the last which enables contact with a diverse range of callers and also ensures that there is never a dull moment in the office. Volunteering with Disability Law Service has been great for learning more about the legal sector and I hope to further develop in my role.”

Nazma

“Volunteering at the DLS has not only been a professionally rewarding experience, but a personal one as well. During my time at the charity, I have been able to contribute to the quality legal advice and services that the DLS provides. This has enriched my understanding of the true effects that the law can have for those in greatest of need and why charities such as the DLS are so important. I would recommend the experience to not only budding lawyers, but any professional seeking to improve the lives of an often ignored class of persons.”

Samson Dawodu

“Volunteering at DLS has been a very uplifting experience. I have learnt many new skills and have participated in various tasks whilst working with the team. For instance, I have been given the opportunity to learn the different laws and regulations concerning healthcare. I have also created and re-edited fact sheets for DLS, as well as answering phone calls regarding community care. During this process, I have been able to enhance my communication skills, admin skills as well as independent research. The team are great and very friendly, and are more than happy to help when I have questions, which makes coming into work very comfortable and easing. Volunteering at DLS is definitely something I would recommend to other individuals.”

Rona Abazi

“My volunteering at DLS has focused on employment cases, and I have found this very rewarding. I leave the DLS office feeling like my work has helped someone vulnerable and that an extremely stressful situation has been made that bit easier for them.”

Daniel