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What’s it like to be our trainee solicitor?

BPP Pro Bono Centre was delighted to recruit Mary Prescott to be its first trainee solicitor in April 2017.  

We have welcomed the chance to give Mary experience as a social welfare lawyer by receiving training in housing law, family law and welfare benefits – the latter through a secondment to South West London Law Centre one day a week from January.  She is also gaining commercial experience through her work in BPP’s Legal Team on Fridays.  She is now over six months’ through her training contract.

Mary was a BPP University Law School student in Bristol where she worked on pro bono projects for the Personal Support Unit and the Avon & Bristol Law Centre.  Following receipt of a Distinction in her Legal Practice Course, she worked as a Wills Adviser for Co-Operative Legal Services before starting her training contract.

One of the effects of the cuts in Legal Aid has been to reduce the availability of training contracts in social welfare law so we are pleased that we have been able to show our commitment to a new generation of lawyers who want to practice in this important area by providing this training contract.

Since joining us Mary has thrown herself into her training.  She has been concentrating on Housing Law so far, supervised by our Housing Supervising Solicitor, Tony Martin, and she has already advised many clients, both in-house at BPP’s Legal Advice Clinic and externally at the Drop-In Clinic we run at the Residential Property Tribunal every Tuesday.

She has represented clients at the Tribunal and the County Court, preparing skeleton arguments for some challenging cases, including one on resulting and constructive trusts on which the Judge commented favourably.  She has made a real difference to the outcomes in those cases, recently succeeding in getting a claim for possession dismissed for our client.

She runs our LEASE Case Summaries project efficiently and is always willing to take on new challenges.  She runs training for students and is good at research and drafting.  The recent advent of Crystal Stewart, a Family Law Supervising Solicitor, to BPP Pro Bono Centre’s team, means that Mary will be able to develop skills in family law next.  We are looking forward to the next six months!

BPP Pro Bono Centre runs around 30 projects engaging law students to deliver pro bono legal advice and education services to improve access to justice. For more information about BPP’s Pro Bono Centre, please email