The Aberdeen Law Project (“ALP”) is delighted to announce Dame Anne Begg DBE as a Patron and the promotion of Sophie Mills to the position of Student Director.
Miss Mills, a third year law student, becomes the project’s seventh Student Director, succeeding Louise Sloan who is graduating and intends to pursue a career in the third sector. Dame Anne meanwhile becomes the project’s sixth patron, joining Lord David Hope, Dame Hazel Genn, Lord Frank Mulholland, Professor Margaret Ross and Mr. Martin Gilbert.
Dame Anne Begg was Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South between 1997 and 2015. Prior to this Dame Anne was a teacher in Kirriemuir and Arbroath. She was appointed DBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List for services to disabled persons and equal opportunities.
Sophie Mills, 20, from Glasgow was educated at Hyndland Secondary School before coming up to Aberdeen to read law in 2014. Sophie is passionate about social justice issues and previously served as President of the Green Party at The University of Aberdeen.
Ryan Whelan, Chair of the ALP Board, and Associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said of the appointments:
“It is a pleasure to welcome Dame Anne to ALP. Having passionately and tirelessly served the city for 18 years as an MP, Dame Anne is well acquainted with the social justice issues that exist in theNorth East. While now retired from frontline politics, it is clear that Dame Anne remains passionate about helping those in need. As seems to be the way with Dame Anne, she has wasted no time in rolling up her sleeves to assist the students, and so the community, by making introductions and inputting on the development of new initiatives. Her counsel to the project as it continues to expand will be invaluable. We are very grateful to Dame Anne for accepting our invitation.
Also exciting for the project is the promotion of Sophie Mills to Student Director. Sophie undoubtedly has a hard act to follow, with Louise Sloan having been a tremendous success - diversifying the project’s community engagement initiatives and expanding the team’s reach and capacity to provide representation to those in the justice gap. Sophie, however, has long stood out as one of the stars of ALP – a far from easy task given the depth and breadth of talent that we are fortunate to have among the student body. I have no doubt, having seen Sophie lead various initiatives, that she will prove to be a very effective and popular leader of ALP. The board look forward to supporting her as she drives forward her plans.”
Commenting on her appointment as a patron, Dame Anne said:
"I am delighted to become a Patron of the Aberdeen Law Project. One of the things I was actually conscious of when I was an MP was that access to good legal advice and help is crucial in making sure everyone has equal access to justice. However, for some people who don't qualify for Legal Aid, which has been cut in recent years, getting legal advice and help is beyond their ability to pay. The Aberdeen Law Project can – and does - help in these circumstances, while giving vital practical experience to the law students who are members of the Project. ALP also engages with local communities in Aberdeen, providing information and practical assistance, empowering those who might be faced with legal issues.
"I particularly like that the Aberdeen Law Project is student founded, led and operated. The work the project does is extremely impressive and valuable, helping and empowering those in need while giving the students experiences that will make them better lawyers when they go into practice. I really am pleased to have become involved."
Sophie Mills, who has been appointed on a two year term, said:
“A key factor in why I came to Aberdeen to study law was the history of ALP and the project’s clear emphasis on student empowerment, leadership and innovation. It’s a decision I’ve not regretted. ALP has taught me so much. As well as legal and client skills, ALP has exposed me to things that have really made me think about the community, what it is to be a lawyer and how those in need can be assisted. Educating the community and advising those in the justice gap is a privilege. I am thrilled to have been appointed Student Director and I look forward to leading the team over the next two years. Hopefully we’ll further expand our community outreach initiatives and continue to achieve successes on behalf of our clients while inspiring a new generation of law students to realise that they have what it takes to affect change.”