A Scottish law clinic initiative to demystify the study and practice of law to interested school pupils, particularly though not exclusively those from a non-traditional background, has received a donation from an international law firm.
Pinsent Masons has made a donation which will fund the cost of The Aberdeen Law Project's Ambassadors Programme until 2013.
The Aberdeen Law Project, the first law clinic in Scotland to be founded, operated and led by students, exists primarily to provide legal assistance and representation to those that would otherwise be unable to seek or defend legal adjudication.
However, in addition to its clinical dimension, it invests heavily in community engagement and educational initiatives.
For example, The Project supports Grampian Women's Aid with training on legal matters, provides educational and employment classes to prisoners at HMP Aberdeen and an outreach link to the Seaton Project, an organisation which provides guidance and support to those with addiction issues.
The latest educational initiative is the Ambassadors Programme, which has operated since May of last year.
In addition to current students making presentations on the realities of studying law and the funding support available, the programme sees practicing lawyers linked with pupils from their former schools to discuss their experiences in law and to offer guidance.
Since launching the programme, The Project have built up a network of lawyers from across Scotland willing to assist, have received numerous of enquiries from individual pupils and have attended at several secondary schools to give presentations on what it is like to study and practice law.
Jodie Chandler, Student Director of The Aberdeen Law Project, said,
"The Ambassadors Programme is a great success - pupils and teachers have enthusiastically received it, since it launched. Despite only being operational since May, we have already presented the initiative to some penultimate and final year secondary school students, where information was given on the study of law and the various paths that can be taken within the legal profession.
"Following from this, the pupils had the opportunity to ask any questions they had regarding university, applications and a legal career. Some of these pupils are now being paired with an Ambassador who will discuss the realities of a legal career with them, answer any further questions and act as their mentor to assist them in making an informed decision to study law.
"The Ambassador and students of The Aberdeen Law Project will provide further support as to UCAS applications, availability of scholarships, loans and bursaries and will be an ongoing contact as the pupil progresses into Law School. We at The Aberdeen Law Project are extremely grateful to Pinsent Masons for providing us with the financial support necessary to operate the initiative for the next two years."
Nick Throw, who leads the Pinsent Masons corporate responsibility team in Scotland, added,
"Our corporate responsibility programme focuses on young people, and in particular those who will most benefit from our support. We are delighted to support the Ambassadors Programme, because of the potential both expand the pool of legal talent in Scotland, benefitting the legal profession and business in Scotland as a whole, and also to provide opportunities to people who might have the talent by feel like a legal career is not open to them."
The Aberdeen Law Project would be delighted to hear from lawyers interested in becoming involved as an Ambassador.
The above story is that which was carried in the Scottish Legal News on Monday 9th January 2012.