Tell us a bit about yourself...

Hello, my name is Miah, and I graduated in Law with Politics and International Studies (LLB) from The University of Manchester in 2021. Upon graduation, I decided to invest the next year in developing new skills through voluntary work, employment, and legal work experience. In 2022, I commenced the Barrister Training Course in Nottingham, which I have recently completed.  

Beyond academia, two main pillars of my identity are being Indian and dyslexic, both of which I am incredibly proud of. I have therefore taken great comfort in finding my own legal community as a member of Bridging the Bar. It is through the Bridging the Bar Academy that I was selected to undertake an internship at Advocate.

Had you previously witnessed any barriers in legal support prior to interning with Advocate, and if so, what were they?

I previously worked as a Support Caseworker at an honour-based abuse charity. Accessing legal advice was often intimidating for clients due to trauma, isolation, and language difficulties that they faced. To make legal advice more accessible, it is important for legal professionals to have an appreciation of the sheer strength, resilience and sacrifice that clients have endured to get to the point of requesting legal assistance.

One of my tasks as a Support Caseworker was to create a drop-in law clinic within the charity. This provided an opportunity to gain legal advice in what is a comfortable and familiar environment for clients. It also meant that the client caseworkers, with whom the clients had developed a unique relationship of trust, were in close proximity. This mitigated some of the intimidation of accessing legal advice.

What attracted you to the casework internship opportunity at Advocate?

The main attraction of the internship at Advocate was the opportunity to gain granular insight into an array of legal areas. Additionally, Advocate play a fundamental role in upholding equality of arms in the legal system, which has become particularly important in the wake of cuts to legal aid and the cost-of-living crisis. As Advocate plays such a central role in the legal sphere, I naturally gravitated towards the opportunity to be a part of the organisation.

What was the most valuable element of your role as a Casework Intern, and was there an experience that was particularly memorable for you? 

I reviewed the documents provided by applicants to determine what was missing in order to understand their cases and how they could best be supported. As the internship progressed, I became quicker and more confident at identifying what documents were required, from ET3 Forms to Occupational Orders. The internship therefore provided a practical dimension of understanding litigation.

A memorable experience was the opportunity for interns to meet Mr Justice Robin Knowles at the High Court, where he shed light on his own legal career and shared advice for future legal professionals. It was a valuable opportunity to raise candid questions in a relaxed environment. It also provided an opportunity to network with the wider Advocate team, whom the interns got to know well as the internship progressed.

Did your internship experience positively impact on your legal career? 

The internship has absolutely had a positive impact on my career! The skills and knowledge you gain from the internship will serve you well in any career, legal or non-legal. The internship itself is relatively short, but the personal and professional benefits are long-lasting.

What advice would you give to anyone applying for the Advocate casework internship or for legal experiences in general? 

My advice is quite basic, and it is simply to apply for opportunities that arise. Rejection in law (and definitely in trying to secure pupillage!) is something that you will become resilient to. I would say be confident in your ability and experiences. Do not be afraid to apply for opportunities in fear of not being successful… with every rejection, you will be one step closer to getting the right opportunity for you!

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Advocate, click here.