Ryan Whelan Honoured in Prestigious Awards Ceremony

Founder of The Aberdeen Law Project, Ryan Whelan, has been honoured for his commitment to pro bono activities at the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards 2011. Ryan was awarded  as Runner Up in the category of Best Contribution by an Individual Student at the ceremony last week.

Ryan Whelan receiving his award from the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC

Ryan Whelan receiving his award from the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC

The annual LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards took place on Wednesday 30th March in the House of Commons. Students and law school staff from across the UK were recognised for their ongoing commitment to pro bono legal work. The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, presented awards to the winners and runners up in each category and praised all attendees for their outstanding achievements. He said,

“These awards celebrate a group of law students who in spite of their busy academic or postgraduate studies have shown a strong commitment to pro bono work. By doing so they are continuing one of the finest traditions of the legal profession.”

The winners and runners up were chosen by the panel of judges after selecting a short-list in each category. The panel of judges consisted of Husnara Begum (Editor, Lawyer 2B), Kara Irwin (LawWorks Trustee and former Director of the BPP Law School Pro Bono Centre), Tom Laidlaw (Head of Academic Development, LexisNexis) and John Wotton (Vice President of the Law Society of England & Wales). LawWorks received the highest number of nominations for these awards to date, and commented on the extremely high standard of applications and quality of winners, particularly in the Individual Student category.

The Chairman of the LawWorks Board, Paul Newdik CBE, opened the event by commending all those involved for their achievements. He made reference to the recent launch of LawWorks Scotland and commented that students had been central to the development of pro bono services north of the border. The announcement of the winners reflected this commitment, with two students from Scottish Universities taking the top spots in the Individual Student Category. Alasdair Stewart from Strathclyde won the award for his dedication to the Strathclyde Law Clinic over the past four years, with Ryan taking second place for his innovative work in founding The Aberdeen Law Project.

Ryan was delighted to have been part of this event. He said, 

“The LawWorks ceremony was a tremendous experience. Being nominated for such an award, far less to have been shortlisted and placed as runner up, was an honour.

"For our clinic to be recognised nationally in our first year is an incredible achievement. We at the clinic are all very proud of our success, and we look forward to working towards further successes in the future.

"It was also great to see Alasdair of Strathclyde be awarded first place, I could not imagine a more deserving winner.”

Ryan was nominated for this award by students and supporters of The Aberdeen Law Project for his incredible commitment, innovation and determination in the creation and implementation of the project. His ambition to create a pro bono facility that would supplement existing services and have a universal benefit has been realised in large part through his hard work and personal dedication.

In support of Ryan’s nomination, Board Member Gary Allan QC wrote that,

“Ryan may not be the first or only student to have had this dream, but I am confident no other student has brought that dream to reality with greater effect and as a result of greater effort.”

All those involved with The Aberdeen Law Project are delighted that Ryan’s success has been recognised at such a prestigious national event.

Further information on the short-listed nominees and winners in each category can be found here.