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More than 100 would-be lawyers were treated to afternoon tea at the House of Lords yesterday after being short-listed for the annual Attorney General’s Pro Bono Awards.
The Attorney General Baroness Scotland announced the winners of each category at the event, which included best contribution by a law school, individual, team and best new pro bono activity.
“Pro bono is at the heart of every good lawyer and these awards acknowledge the work of students who will be the next generation of the legal profession. They are an inspiration to us all and each has demonstrated a commitment to pro bono whilst juggling their studies,” said Scotland.
Northumbria University walked away with a prize for the best contribution by a law school for its community pro bono clinic.
Law student Andrew Thirlwall, who had travelled from Newcastle-upon-Tyne with the rest of his team, said it was fantastic to be recognised for pro bono work for the second time after the university won the same category in 2008.
“I’ve learnt more practical things by being part of the pro bono unit than I have throughout the past three years at university. It’s been a fantastic thing to be part of - both being able to help people in the north-east as well as adding a practical side to my studies,” he said.
University of Warwick student Natasha Yusof picked up the best individual category and her prize was a two-week stint in the US to take part in pro bono work.
She has spearheaded a new project aimed at educating Muslim women living in countries like Afghanistan of their legal rights.
Meanwhile, the new Access to Justice Foundation Student Prize was awarded to George Gordon from BPP Law School for his article on pro bono costs.
The judges, who whittled down the shortlist, this year included Lawyer 2B’s editor Husnara Begum, tribunal judge Hugh Brayne, Tom Laidlaw, head of academic development at LexisNexis as well as the Vice president of the Law Society for England & Wales Linda Lee.
The winning list
Best Contribution by an Individual Student
Winner: Natasha Yusof - University of Warwick.
Runner up: Liam McLean - University of Strathclyde
Short list: Rebecca Campbell - The College of Law, Moorgate, and Phillip Kaisary, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice and Richard Kwan, BPP Law School.
Best Contribution by a Team of Students
Winner: Queen Mary University of London, Pink Law Team
Runner up: University of Kent, Immigration and Asylum Team
Short list: University of Strathclyde Law Clinic Committee, Toynbee Hall Student Advisors at the Free Legal Advice Centre
Best Contribution by a Law School
Winner: Northumbria University
Runner Up: University of the West of England
Short list: University of Manchester, University of Kent and the College of Law
Best New Pro Bono Activity
Winner: Special Educational Needs Advice Line, University of Durham
Runner up: Market Law, Queen Mary, University of London
Short list: Debt Literacy, University of Exeter and YOU*th Inspire, University of Warwick
The Access to Justice Foundation Student Prize
Winner: George Gordon, BPP Law School, London
Runners up: Emma Boffey, University of Strathclyde and Gillain Clissold, Cardiff Law School