When I met Kate Laverty shortly after setting up the Law Clinic, I felt immediately that I had met a kindred spirit – someone who cared deeply about helping others in society. Unlike me, Kate had a Scottish law degree and had even practised law. So it did not take much thought in 2006 to choose her as the Clinic’s first supervisor.
Since then, Kate has been a brilliant supervisor, taking our casework to a far more professional and ambitious level than I ever imagined. She has been responsible for some of the biggest and most important cases we have had, but does not confine her efforts to clients alone. Instead she takes a key role in mentoring students, and in ambitious Clinic development.
When Kate started, our activity was confined to casework. Over the years, Kate has always played an important role in guiding and supporting the students responsible for projects which have extended the reach of our service to the community. She was particularly helpful in relation to the Innocent Project (now the Criminal Convictions Unit) and the Immigration Unit. However, perhaps her greatest legacy to date is the establishment of the Women’s Rights Centre in which she plays a leading role. Her runner up position last year in the Herald Society Worker of the Year Award only goes some way to recognise her contribution to the community.
No doubt countless students over the last ten years owe Kate a huge debt of gratitude in the way she has nurtured their legal skills and enthusiasm. I am equally grateful for the role she has played on the Executive Committee and more recently the Management Committee, as well as being someone I can always turn to for advice . Over the years I have come to trust Kate’s judgment on all matters clinical (and some non-clinical!). She has proved extremely wise and has an instinct for the right decision. I am not sure how I would have managed without her over the years.
Over and over again I feel that Kate has taught me a great deal, from how to draft a letter that’s got a degree of humanity rather than a cold business-like tone, to handling people with empathy and finding creative solutions to their problems.
Nothing is ever too much for Kate and she is never too busy to listen and help. Kate is a great inspiration and role model for all students in the Law Clinic because of her dedication, attention to detail and the way that she approaches problems
Kate was integral to the development of the Scottish Women’s Right Centre structure, service delivery, recruitment of staff and volunteers. She approaches her work with knowledge, skill and humour. Her contribution has been invaluable.
Katy Mathieson, SWRC