Law Clinic AGM (November 2013)

The Law Clinic held its AGM on 6th November, and, as usual, this was an inspiring event where the success of the previous year was showcased – not just at the level of casework, but also in terms of our projects. To pick just a few highlights:

  • Student Director 2012-2013, Hannah Cosgrove, won Best Individual Student Award and the Clinic was Highly Commended for the Best Law School at the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards 2013
  • Law Clinic won Team of the Year at the Herald Society Awards
  • 341 clients assisted: 180 by Students Advisors (up from 146 in the previous year) and 161 in the Initial Advice Clinics
  • Expansion of the Prisons Project from two to five prisons, expansion of the Schools Project by doubling the number of schools involved
  • First case settled through Judicial Mediation
  • Law Clinic hosts annual Scottish Universities Law Clinic Network event

Well-deserved congratulations were extended to all our members, and some members were recognised for standing out in their efforts.

The Best Newcomer Award went to Jacob Hay. Delivering the award, Law Clinic Director Donald Nicolson said:

“He is someone who volunteered for every task open from day one. If he can help, he will. He fixes IT problems, provides support to those around him, takes on cases, and steps in to do interviews at next to no notice. He worked in the Clinic nearly every day though the summer helping those around him, devoting himself to his clients, and attending Law Clinic events.  At the beginning of the summer he took the lead in organising the highly successful SULCN event, and has proved an excellent Communications Officer.”

The Best Advisor Award went to Michael Dempsey, who Donald described as follows:

“He loves a chance to enter into a good duelling match with the opposition, never rejects an opportunity to push himself further in the court. He takes on every case he can, but it is not all just about the challenge.  He is passionate about fighting the client’s case.  If there is a point to be made he will ensure it is heard and made well, but can be overheard explaining with great clarity and sympathy the most complex of legal conundra to the clients.”

Advisors Katie Souter, Emma Watson & Andrew Maxwell were commended for their performance in the Case of the Year:

“This case is one which highlights precisely how the Clinic can help the most vulnerable of individuals. Advisors went the extra mile to balance their coursework with the Clinic in order that they could continue to help the client through a particularly stressful Employment Tribunal. As a result, the client was vindicated financially, but more importantly, her experience was recognised by the Judge as involving an injustice.”

The Amanda Benstock Award for Compassion was awarded to Jacky Wall:

“She takes on cases which would challenge even the most experienced of advisors, but her concern is always how the experience has affected the client and whether they got the result they deserved. Under her stewardships the IACs have gone from comfortable levels of success to being a central part of what the Clinic does for the Community. She truly believes in the need to increase access to justice.”

The Effie Shaw Award for Dedication was awarded to Craig Leslie. In introducing the Award, Donald said:

“This year sees another new award. It was instigated to commemorate the memory of Effie Shaw who became involved with the Clinic as a volunteer at Central Glasgow CAB. She came to us after years of being a formidable fighter for worker rights and an expert in employment law. She wanted to continue the fight but her health no longer allowed her to appear in court. So we entered into collaboration with her to take on her cases that need to be argued and in doing so benefitted from years of her knowledge and the example of her dedication.

If there was a member of the Clinic who could best exemplify the quality of dedication it is Craig Leslie.  From the beginning of his Clinic membership he has been on hand whenever he can spare even 30 seconds to help out.  He takes on challenging cases and really focuses his efforts.  If there is a task to be done he is always there to volunteer. He spent most of his summer living in the Clinic, even though it was on a purely voluntary basis”

The final award, for Overall Contribution, went to Andrew Maxwell. It was hard to encompass all that Andrew does for the Clinic, but Donald spoke of Andrew as someone who was:

“Always there to help. He is very supportive and provides invaluable help on case work. He is very generous with his knowledge and experience, and is dedicated to doing the best job for the Clinic and its clients. Andrew is in his fifth year of invaluable service in the Clinic. He has been an exemplary advisor, taking on over 30 cases and always determined to the best he can for his clients even when legal solutions are not available. Not only does he do a very thorough job on his own cases he is always ready to assist others, step in when help is needed whether that be research, court appearances, phone calls or client interviews.”

The event provided all those in attendance with an immense sense of pride, and we look forward to even greater service and success in the 2013-2014 academic session.