Students Staff

26 November 2015

Free legal advice service launches for local businesses

Small businesses in Southend can get free legal advice next month at a new law clinic offered by the University of Essex, in partnership with local commercial law experts BTMK Solicitors Limited.

The advice sessions on 1 and 10 December will be held at the University’s Southend Campus, and delivered by undergraduate law students working with practising BTMK solicitors. They will offer professional advice on all matters of business law including contract law, employment law, and intellectual property rights.

The initiative will also give Essex students the opportunity to work face-to-face with business clients developing their interviewing and client care skills.

Small businesses – employing up to 50 people – make up 99% of all businesses but most cannot access free legal advice because most law clinics are aimed at individuals.

Richard Owen, Director of the University’s Law Clinic, said: “In October the Legal Service Board issued a report on the legal needs of small businesses which found that almost 50% of them only use lawyers as a last resort.

“Our new service will make it much easier for small businesses to access the expert legal advice they need to thrive.”

The aim of the project is to ensure that local businesses and entrepreneurs have access to quality legal advice. Emma Jenkins, of BTMK Solicitors, said: “It is crucial that businesses and individuals alike are able to access the legal advice they require. BTMK pride themselves in providing high quality, cost-effective advice and are proud to be working in partnership with the University as part of their dedication to, and recognition of, the need to invest in the local community.”

The Southend legal clinics also provide a unique opportunity for Essex’s students: “Students are delivering the sessions under supervision from local practitioners. It develops their interviewing skills and enables them to bridge theory and practice,” explained Mr Owen.

Free legal sessions for small businesses will take place at The Forum, Southend-on-Sea, 5.30pm-7.30pm on 1 December, and 10.00am-12.00pm on 10 December. Spaces are limited so please book an appointment by emailing:

More information

For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529 or email:

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