Ian was Student Director from 2015 to 2016 after being involved in a variety of roles since the law clinic was founded. Assisting Mark Bowman he helped to create the clinics Street Law programme and was one half of the team alongside Matthew Kane who produced a series of podcasts on important issues relating to the law in Scotland.
As Student Director, Ian was responsible for all the projects the Law Clinic undertook and oversaw the clinic’s expansion plans. He returned in 2016-17 as Emeritus Director whilst studying his Diploma in order to help us plan the Scottish University Law Clinic Network Conference, which we hosted in June 2017 to considerable success. Attending were a variety of A-list legal guests and speakers, such as Mungo Bovey QC, head of the Faculty’s Pro Bono unit; and Aamer Anwar, a noted Human Rights lawyer and Scots Lawyer of the Year 2017.
Currently he is undertaking his traineeship with the Writers to the Signet Society in Edinburgh, becoming their first trainee since the 16th century. Ian has a keen interest in Sports Law and hopes to take this further in his career.
Having held the inaugural Student Directorship at the GCU Law Clinic, I feel relatively well placed to provide some insight, and to issue a plea to students,as to the merits of volunteering at law clinics and pro bono ventures generally. Too often, as a result of the archetypal university mentality, it becomes easy to focus solely upon academic merit. Consideration of the bigger picture however, should always be at the forefront of our minds. As law students, we typically don’t get offered many opportunities for vocational learning and the benefits that follow on from this are hard to put into words. At a basic level, the level of independent legal-based interaction with real people with real world problems is unparalleled and the work really, really matters which gives it a significant edge over anything else. From a development standpoint, countless soft skills are honed and tested in the almost perfect ‘training environment’, eventually seamlessly merging into those necessary for thriving in a professional setting.
Potential for a deeper involvement in the Clinic towards the latter years of the LLB opens up a whole other level of creative and professional development. Critically, the GCU Law Clinic is very much a living, breathing thing, and at all times reflects the values and efforts of the students running it. The opportunity to shape the Clinic based upon the needs of the people is one where you will struggle to experience anywhere else, and it is entirely the product of having a well functioning, tight-knit law school (and particularly Claire McFadzean!).
The knowledge and experience gained from working at the Clinic has undoubtedly served me well in life post-LLB. Since leaving, I have studied on the International Law and Security LLM at the University of Glasgow, graduating with distinction in November of 2015. I have also been fortunate enough to secure employment with Ashurst as a Legal Analyst in their Glasgow office, where I have undertaken pro bono work for a number of our leading charities clients and have taken a more than active role in promoting the work of law clinics and helping to grow the Ashurst Glasgow community efforts, with the firm recently being confirmed as a lead sponsor of the Street Law initiative.
Essentially, I’d just like to stress that the opportunity provided by the GCU Law Clinic is one not to be missed and it is very much what you make of it. What is should be viewed as, is the perfect platform for students to learn, develop and grow and students need to leave their own legacy, but in that process hopefully making concurrently a massive difference to the people who need it most, and to those whom the GCU Law Clinic was ultimately set up for, the common weal.
Rachel took up the post of Student Director for the 2016-17 session after being involved in a variety of roles since the law clinic was founded. Rachel first joined the Clinic as a volunteer in 2013 and was appointed Outreach Manager in 2016 prior to becoming Student Director.
As Student Director, Rachel was responsible for all the projects the Law Clinic undertook and the clinic’s expansion plan. Alongside the Operations Manager she was responsible for the day-to-day administration of the clinic.
Rachel is currently undertaking a Masters at Kings College in London.