YLAL Midlands minutes 16.11.2016

Thank you to everyone who came to the meet-up – it was really productive. For those of you who were not able to make it, we decided to ‘re-launch’ YLAL Midlands in Birmingham with an event in January or February modelled on the recent ‘Becoming a Legal Aid Lawyer’ event which we held in London. You can read about that event on the YLAL website here and on the Eventbrite page here. We also said we will have more informal meetings in the future to arrange other events. We discussed how we could hold a future event on the re-opened inquest into the Birmingham pub bombings, which is currently in its preliminary stages.
The event in London was focussed on careers in legal aid, so was primarily – but not exclusively – aimed at students and the more junior end of YLAL membership. The co-chairs, Rachel and Ollie, first delivered an Introduction to Legal Aid (and YLAL) before handing over to a careers panel featuring a solicitor, a barrister and a legal executive, all of whom were quite senior and involved in recruiting for their firm or chambers. The panel spoke about their careers so far and their advice for aspiring legal aid lawyers, before taking questions from the audience. 
We agreed that the things we need to think about for the event are as follows:
  • Date: we agreed to aim for a Wednesday or Thursday evening in the last week of January or the first two weeks of February.
  • Venue: we agreed to look at holding the event at one of the universities or law schools in Birmingham. We had students from each of BPP, University of Law and Birmingham City University present last night, and all of them agreed to contact their universities to ask about the availability of lecture theatres or similar for the dates set out above, and to find out about capacity and whether refreshments would also be available (in London, the event was hosted by London South Bank University, and they provided drinks and canapes afterwards free of charge). Please can those of you who volunteered to do this let me know how you get on?
  • Speakers: we agreed to try to have a panel of speakers from a mixture of areas of law (e.g. immigration/asylum, family law, crime, public law). As in London, it would be good to have a solicitor, a barrister and a legal executive to speak about the different routes to qualification. People also felt it would be useful to have junior lawyers who have recently gone through the applications process for training contracts or pupillage, as well as senior lawyers involved in recruitment of trainees, paralegals and pupils – perhaps we could therefore aim to have a panel of five people, with three senior lawyers and two junior lawyers. Please could everyone therefore let me know of anyone they would recommend for the panel? 
  • Promotion: once we have the date, venue and speakers sorted, we will promote the event, with a particular focus on the universities and law schools in and around Birmingham. We will set up an Eventbrite page to register attendees and keep track of numbers, we will ensure the event is promoted via the main YLAL mailing list and YLAL social media, and will ask student members among the organisers to promote it within their university or law school by sending emails, putting up posters etc.
We will set up a separate email thread for the people involved in organising the event, so we are not spamming everyone’s inboxes – whether you were able to attend last night or not, please can you email us if you would like to be included on this separate thread for organising the event.