Law Clinic Student Wins National Award (4th April 2011)

Strathclyde Law Clinic Student Wins National LawWorks & Attorney General Student Pro-Bono Award

Alasdair receiving his award from the Attorney General

Students and staff involved in the University of Strathclyde’s award-winning Law Clinic travelled to London to attend the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards at the House of Commons on the 30th March 2011. The awards, organised by legal charity LawWorks and endorsed by Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP, recognise the contribution of law students to pro bono work- free legal services performed by lawyers for people who have difficulty affording fees.

The Law Clinic was extremely successful at the event, being shortlisted from over 52 submissions in two categories. These were Best Contribution by a Team of Students for the Clinic’s pioneering Projects Team and Best Contribution by an Individual Student for Alasdair Stewart, the Clinic’s Student Director and creator of the Clinic’s innovative and groundbreaking online Case Management System.

Alasdair was a well deserved winner in the ‘Individual’ category, impressing the judges with his unwavering commitment and dedication to pro bono activities during his four years at university. In nominating Alasdair for the award, Law Clinic Director, Donald Nicolson, said, “In twenty years of Law Clinic experience, I have not met a student who has put more into pro bono activities than Alasdair Stewart. … Over the last two years, I have been constantly able to call upon him, often at very short notice and late at night, for statistics and advice and suggestions on a variety of issues ranging from funding applications and project development to sensitive issues of ethics and management of occasional problems with and amongst the student advisors. Alasdair has proved wise beyond his years and has an amazing instinct for the right decision.”

Event sponsors, legal publisher and information supplier LexisNexis, were so impressed with Alasdair’s contribution to pro bono that they offered him the chance to take a trip to Canada in order to gain first-hand experience of pro bono activity on the other side of the Atlantic.

Alasdair said: “The pro bono work I’ve taken part in during the last four years has been challenging but also extremely rewarding when you realise the significant impact you can make on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I feel extremely privileged to have been involved in the Law Clinic at the University of Strathclyde and to have studied at a university that recognises the huge benefits of pro bono work for both communities and students.”

The Law Clinic was the first student-led initiative of its kind in Scotland and its model is now being replicated in other universities as the recognition of the benefits of pro bono work to both students and the wider community spreads. Most impressively, Alasdair has offered to donate his award-winning Case Management System to other university Law Clinics free of charge in order to ensure that the pro bono movement truly takes root north of the border.