60 second interview with Richard Leong
Richard Leong is a discrimination lawyer at the London Discrimination Unit, Lambeth Law Centre
Do you do PLE ?
I must admit that, even without being aware of it, I have been doing PLE work for years now. I have been giving legal training to employment advisers through accredited training courses, dealing with discrimination at work. The delegates have been case workers in the voluntary sector. The purpose of the training is to give updates on the law and improve the legal knowledge of advisers, which should indirectly improve the protection and promotion of the legal rights of employees.
What’s your favourite example of PLE ?
I have been, in conjunction with ASA Advicenow, giving advice on an employment problem page on the Advicenow website. People with employment problems would write in with their problems, and these are sent to me to draft a reply. This reply is edited and the final version is published on the website.
Read more about: Advicenow - Discrimination Problems
I really like this way of dealing with problems in that the response to the problem is within a few days, and the problems and replies have a universal application, which readers can apply to their own individual situations. We have received a variety of problems, ranging from a doctor refusing to treat an elderly patient to an internet dating site that catered only for younger people.
Why do you think PLE works ?
This is difficult to say, since the benefits are difficult to measure and the benefits may not become apparent until much later. It is great to get positive feedback about how people have found the training helpful. The real test is if it has made a difference to someone’s working life on an individual level. What I do know is that there is a great need for PLE out there. The services are available but it is a question of publicising these services.
What are the biggest challenges for organisations doing PLE ?
For our organisation’s training, the biggest challenge is simply to keep the training going. We aim to service the voluntary sector, by providing training at affordable prices. But is not easy given our over head costs. What is required is for funders to realise that prevention is that better than cure, and that money spent on legal training – particularly employers – would prevent a lot of resources spent later in litigation.
What’s your top tip for doing PLE work ?
When providing legal education, set the level of the training at the level of the audience. Not everyone is a lawyer. Moreover, try to make the training as practical as possible, since training directly related to the relevant work experience of people has the greatest impact. Use case examples and workshops and quizzes. Make the training informative but also interesting for the delegate, rather than turning it into a law lecture or seminar.