On 7 June 2019, the eighth annual conference of the Scottish University Law Clinic Network (SULCN) took place at Edinburgh Napier University. A Twitter thread of the day is available here. Thanks to all who attended, to the speakers (namely 1) John Mulholland, the President of the Law Society of Scotland, 2) Robin Burley and Lindsay Burley of Mediation Scotland, 3) Barry Nichol and Alun Thomas of Anderson Strathern Solicitors, and 4) John Sturrock QC of Core Mediation), to the organising team at Napier, and to the Law Society of Scotland for its support of the event.
I don’t have much to add to what was tweeted, save to quickly note that the collegiaty and camaraderie of the day is always very welcome, and it is that collegiaty and camaraderie which reminds me both why the network was started and why some players in the Scottish law clinic sector have been keen to keep the network going. SULCN also has a certain missionary function, in terms of getting the law clinic message out to all the airts and pairts of Scotland, and it serves as a great way of sharing knowledge and avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel as the inevitable student churn churns: for example, there was a discussion about the tie-in between clinics and social work, and the one saddo/enthusiast who has been to all the SULCN conferences (me) was able to say “we covered that in our 2014 conference” (digested here). There is also the chance to share current practice and expertise: for example, when law clinics and mediation was being discussed, representatives from Dundee and Strathclyde were able to say “this is what we do with mediation”, and I was able to say “does anyone remember the work Margaret Ross, Douglas Bain and DTZ did at Glasgow and Aberdeen Sheriff Court?” (See here.)
2019 also marked three years since I assumed the role as Chair of SULCN, and I felt this moment was an appropriate one to step back and let someone else take the reins (assuming there was someone willing to take those reins). Retirement by rotation has its merits, and all that. The person who expressed willingness to assume the role of Chair when I told clinic contacts of my stepping back plan was Rebecca Samaras of the University of Edinburgh. Fortunately, all the delegates were more than happy with this handover of the reins. It was not a complete handover though: as things stand, I am honorary secretary, which basically means I still have the keys to the Twitter account. I will say no more about the future direction of SULCN for now though, as I don’t want to be the annoying person who leaves an office whilst trying to dictate to a new office bearer what should happen. That seems quite enough from me for now, but do stay tuned for further law clinic updates either from Rebecca, me, or indeed other SULCN contacts.