The Law Centres Network (LCN) held its annual conference in Glasgow last week (9-10 November), and used the occasion to celebrate outstanding practice across Law Centres.
The gathering, which is the peak event in Law Centres' annual calendar, gives members an opportunity to step out of the office, mingle informally and bond. They hear from expert speakers, take part in practical workshops and elect their representatives to be LCN's trustees for the forthcoming year.
This was the first time in 39 years that the conference was held in Scotland. For historical and regulatory reasons Scottish Law Centres are constituted differently and are not part of the Law Centres Network. Still, Scottish, English and Northern Irish Law Centres share values and common purpose, and collaborate on a number of initiatives. When our Scottish colleagues extended their invitation, we were happy to accept it.
This special bond was emphasised when Scottish minister Annabelle Ewing MSP came to welcome delegates, also bearing a message from Scotland's First Minister. Nicola Sturgeon MSP started her professional life in Drumchapel Law Centre (now closed), and credits it with teaching her so much that she found useful later on as a politician.
The conference also gives another opportunity to acknowledge the brilliant work done across Law Centres, with two awards:
- The Reita Clarke Award for Outstanding Achievement went to welfare rights adviser Diana Bagci of Nottingham Law Centre
- The Olaronke Flora Williams Memorial Prize was awarded to Derbyshire Law Centre's employment unit
Praise for Law Centres' work also came from Glasgow's Lord Provost and council leader, both of whom were familiar with our work and appreciative of it.
To catch up with tweets from the conference as it unfolded, see its Storify stream.