Rachel is a Solicitor and Clinical Legal Education Programme Leader with our School of Law. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2005 and spent seven years as a litigator in private practice in Liverpool and Manchester, before joining LJMU as a Senior Lecturer in February 2013.
“I grew up in Huyton, studied at Oxford and trained in a Magic Circle firm in the City of London. After qualifying, it seemed the natural thing to come back to my home city and carry on my work where my loved ones are. I enjoy legal practice but since my favourite part was training and developing the next generation of lawyers, a move into legal education was inevitable”.
Alongside her teaching, she coordinates the school’s pro bono activities and programmes, having established the award-winning Legal Advice Centre (LAC) in April 2014. In the years since its inception, it has helped hundreds of people across the Liverpool City Region, who would have otherwise had nowhere else to turn, following cuts to legal aid and increasing economic difficulties in the wider world.
The Legal Advice Centre offers help on family, civil, employment, wills and housing law as well as some commercial and small claims work. At the end of 2022 the clinic moved into its new purpose-built premises in the City Centre on Hardman Street, enhancing accessibility for the local community as well as the learning experience for our students. The new venture represents a huge expansion of capacity, with five full-time solicitors and two administrative staff with other experts ‘on call’ from the School of Law, and more than 50 individual lawyers volunteering from across the city’s firms of all sizes.
“The need for free legal advice across all sectors has only increased since the pandemic and will likely increase further as we enter into this cost of living crisis. We have certainly seen a rising demand at the Legal Advice Centre.
“None of this great work would be possible without our brilliant students and external volunteer solicitors from local firms who very kindly give up their time to support our students and the community – not to mention the fantastic Legal Advice Centre team,” Rachel said.
“I grew up in Huyton, studied at Oxford and trained in a Magic Circle firm in the City of London. After qualifying, it seemed the natural thing to come back to my home city and carry on my work where my loved ones are. I enjoy legal practice but since my favourite part was training and developing the next generation of lawyers, a move into legal education was inevitable.”
– Rachel Stalker
The centre has transformed from a small extra-curricular activity with a handful of volunteers in 2014 into a fully curricular clinic, open to all LLB Law students at all levels.
In the 2021/22 academic year, 435 students worked in the Legal Advice Centre successfully supporting and advising clients through what is often an incredibly distressing time in the client’s life. This amounted to around the equivalent of £600K in services provided.
The Centre has also entered a collaboration with Support Through Court to ensure help for unrepresented people keeps running in person in Liverpool Civil and Family Court, one of only a handful of courts in England and Wales to still have this on-site service. Our students staff the service and work alongside the local legal profession and judiciary to help people without a lawyer understand the court processes and find their voice.
Without the driving force and dedication of Rachel and her pioneering colleagues, many hundreds of local people and law students would not be where they are today.
Rachel’s work, alongside that of volunteers, is helping to bridge the growing justice gap and preventing people from sacrificing on everyday essentials to pay for legal advice. The work of the centre showcases LJMU at its best, standing up for its communities, just as our founding fathers did back in 1823.
The work of the Legal Advice Centre also featured in a special BBC Radio 4 ‘Law in Action’ programme, broadcast in November 2022.