Students and law schools from across the UK gathered in the House of Commons on 25th March for the annual LawWorks & Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2015, which were endorsed and presented by Rt Hon Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC MP.
The recent LawWorks Law School Pro Bono and Clinic Report demonstrates that at least 70% of all law schools in the UK are involved in pro bono projects and 45% of clinics in the LawWorks clinics network involve a law school. The awards recognise this hard work and celebrate the innovation, commitment and dedication of law students across the country.
The winners were as follows:
- Best Contribution by a Law School – University of Strathclyde
- Best Contribution by a Team of Students – University of Huddersfield’s Legal Advice Clinic
- Best New Student Pro Bono Activity – University of Greenwich
- Best Contribution by an Individual Student – Helen Ingram, BPP University (London)
The Attorney General presented the annual Access to Justice Foundation Student Essay Competition Prize to Dale Timson for his article “Does the legal profession prioritise access to justice for all?” which will feature in the New Legal Journal.
Kings College London was announced winner of the Law School Challenge 2015, after their success in raising funds for pro bono charities LawWorks and the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
The Attorney General presented the awards alongside LawWorks’ Chief Executive, Nick Gallagher, LawWorks Trustee Lord Willy Bach, and Head of Legal at LexisNexis, James Harper.
The RT Hon Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC MP, said: ‘All students nominated across the four categories have demonstrated a tremendous amount of skill, initiative and selflessness of spirit which I hope will help keep pro bono a force for good in the future of the legal profession in the U.K. “
For the seventh year running LexisNexis generously sponsored the Awards in its entirety, demonstrating a continued commitment to student pro bono. James Harper, Head of Legal for LexisNexis UK & Ireland attended the event and said: “LexisNexis is incredibly proud to continue our long running association with LawWorks and the Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards. Access to justice for all is a fundamental part of upholding the rule of law in society, a cause which is a central part of LexisNexis’s global corporate objectives. The role that pro-bono plays in this cannot be underestimated; and those that give their time to undertake this work should be praised. It is only fitting that we bring some well-deserved attention to the pro-bono projects nominated and celebrate their fantastic efforts. LexisNexis congratulates all those nominated and shortlisted, as well as the many that have not been mentioned, and we are honoured to be able to support their tireless and vital work.”
Jonathan Smithers, Vice President of the Law Society said: ‘’It was an honour to sit on the Judging panel for this year’s Student Pro Bono Awards. I was extremely impressed by the innovation displayed by students and universities in the development of pro bono projects, in order to reach those communities who otherwise have no access to legal help.”
Notes to editors:
You can see details of all the shortlisted nominees here:
RT Hon Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC MP, endorses these awards, which are organised by LawWorks (the operating name for the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) www.lawworks.org.uk.
This year’s panel of judges comprised:
- Isla Grant - Editor of lawcareers.net
- Jonathan Smithers – Vice President of the Law Society of England & Wales
- Tom Laidlaw - Head of Academic and Public Sector Marketing at LexisNexis UK and Ireland.
- Richard De Friend – Ex-Director of Pro Bono at College of Law and PBUK
LawWorks believes in the power of pro bono legal advice to help improve the lives of people in need.
We do this in two ways:
- by enabling access to justice to individuals in need of advice, who are not eligible for legal aid and are without the means to pay for a lawyer; and
- by brokering legal advice to small not-for-profit organisations, to support the continuation and expansion of their services to people in need.
LawWorks’ role is to work within England and Wales to connect people in need of legal advice and assistance, and not-for-profit organisations that support them, with the skills and expertise of lawyers willing to meet those needs for free.
LexisNexis® (www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. A member of Reed Elsevier [NYSE: ENL; NYSE: RUK] (www.reedelsevier.com), LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 15,000 employees worldwide.
In the UK, LexisNexis (www.lexisnexis.co.uk) online services include LexisLibrary - named Online Product of the Year at the Legal Technology Awards - and Nexis® the single most powerful global news & business information service. The company has over 1,000 employees in the UK.
LexisNexis has kindly made its LexisPSL resource available free of charge to all LawWorks Student Member Clinics. Student and law school representatives involved in a law school legal advice clinic who would like access to this resource may contact Thomas Laidlaw at LexisNexis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Grace Kelly at LawWorks (email@example.com).
The Access to Justice Foundation was formed as a result of the Legal Services Act 2007 and is the recipient of any funds awarded by the courts in the form of so called ‘pro bono costs orders’. The foundation is chaired by the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith. You can find out more information about the Foundation on their website www.accesstojusticefoundation.org.uk.
Valerie Hudson LawWorks t: 020 7092 3952 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace Kelly LawWorks t: 020 7092 3954 e:email@example.com
Melissa Higgsmith LexisNexi t: 020 7400 2977 e:firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Daniel Access to Justice Foundation t: 020 7092 3973 e:email@example.com