My Experience As A Project Head
By HANNAH HARRISON
I’m Hannah and I am the Head of StreetLaw in the Pro Bono Society. I wanted to share my experience as a project head. Unlike other projects, StreetLaw itself isn’t just only a singular organisation, rather multiple different mini projects all under the umbrella of pro-bono within the community and under the name StreetLaw. These projects include the Citizens Advice Bureau, Support Through Court, APPEAL and InFrinGeMent.
I remember having been selected for the position back in March 2019 I felt an immense sense of achievement, taking my next steps and progressing in a society that I had committed much of my first year to. Coupled with that achievement was an overwhelming sense of responsibility to keep four different established and respected pro bono projects up and running under my guidance. This was something completely new to me and although it was slightly daunting, I was eager to take on the challenge.
Having multiple different projects to recruit for and co-ordinate is not easy, and I have faced a plethora of different challenges on the way. Many of these difficulties come as standard within any leadership position, and although demanding (and at sometimes frustrating) I have been able to gain immeasurable experience and skills I know will be continuously valued and utilised throughout my future career. I have been lucky enough to have obtained a vacation scheme this summer, which I believed is almost entirely due to my involvement with pro bono. My experiences in leadership with StreetLaw and in other pro bono projects have made up the vast majority of my answers to interview questions and much of the positive feedback I received.
Leadership was something that I didn’t think I was particularly well suited to before beginning my position as Head of StreetLaw; my comfort zone was firmly in the realm of follower rather than leader. However, being a project head has drastically shifted my attitude not only towards leadership, but teamwork, participation, enthusiasm, and commitment within a group. This is something I continually see and am inspired by not only in my own projects but with my fellow project heads and committee members. In fact, one of the highlights of my time with the Pro Bono Society was helping to film a new promotional video for the society and seeing the creativity of all committee members enthusiastically collaborating for one end goal – despite having to stand out in the rain on a cold November morning – on a Saturday!
Something that I really wanted to develop with StreetLaw was emphasising the impact pro bono makes – not just on students and the volunteering opportunities it provides to advance our skills, but to the wider community that we help along the way. I really felt that we achieved this impact back in December when due to funding issues, a large proportion of Support Through Court offices were closing down across the country. The branch in Nottingham where StreetLaw’s volunteers reside was saved largely due to the university’s donations to the charity – which were made by the Law School because of Pro Bono Society’s involvement with Support Through Court. To realise the impact the project had on such an amazing cause is so inspiring and something I hope the next Head of StreetLaw will also appreciate.
In terms of everyday tasks however, the majority of my work is electronic, primarily over email and so in line with the society’s sustainability initiative (StreetLaw has been officially paperless for the entire academic year)! Naturally with four different projects to oversee – time-management and organisation is key, as each project has different recruitment and volunteering timelines, requiring varying levels of involvement. However, when it comes to what I’m looking for in a potential successor – something that I value above all else is enthusiasm. Someone who is passionate and committed to the development of the projects within StreetLaw I believe will ultimately rise the challenge as I did, and hopefully continue its amazing impact.