PA 98/09 A group of budding legal philanthropists from The University of Nottingham has won a prestigious award from the UK Attorney General and a national solicitors’ society.
The team of ten law students from the University’s Pro Bono Society were awarded “Best Contribution by a Team of Students” at the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards 2009. The award was presented to them by Baroness Scotland QC at a ceremony at the House of Lords.
The Society is made up of law students who organize local community and education projects to help disadvantaged people get a better awareness of and access to legal services. The team submitted evidence of its main projects which it runs with undergraduate volunteers from the University’s School of Law. The students’ entry included the Society’s outreach schemes in both primary and secondary schools in Nottinghamshire to promote an interest in the law and in higher education. They also submitted the Society’s work with the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, which offers refugees and asylum seekers free legal and housing advice in the city and county. Another scheme, working with a charity called Young Potential, supports young people across the East Midlands through community activities, playschemes and a church renovation project. President of the University’s Pro Bono Society, Hannah Summerfield, said: "We were so thrilled just to be shortlisted and visit the House of Lords - but to win was truly amazing! It was really inspiring to see the work of other universities and law schools and to feel part of a national effort to give something back. This award recognises not just the hard work of our committee, but of all of the Law students who have been involved with the Society over the past year. We’ve been lucky to have had so many enthusiastic volunteers and I’m sure that this will continue next year." Professor Stephen Bailey, Head of the Law School, said: "I am delighted that the hard work of the UoN Pro Bono Society, led by its President, Hannah Summerfield, has received this well deserved national recognition." Alison Ingram, from LawWorks, a national solicitors’ Pro Bono group, said: “Pro bono work is of great benefit to any law student in terms of broadening legal skills and providing practical experience of giving advice. Student pro bono work offers an opportunity for students to use their legal knowledge in a productive way which is hugely appreciated by those who receive assistance."