Practices give feedback to law students presenting ideas in enterprise workshops

To meet the Scottish Government’s goal of increasing entrepreneurial activity, it is important that each element of the support network for entrepreneurship and new business has an appreciation of enterprise and the opportunity to develop the skills and mindset required for innovation. Law students, representing the next generation of lawyers, are one area ripe with potential.

This has been recognised by organisations such as the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE), which over the last few months has brought enterprise workshops to law students at Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh Napier Universities. A recent workshop at Edinburgh Napier provided a template for how enterprise and innovative thinking can be seeded in the minds of law students.

Drawing on current trends related to the problem of an aging population, the students were challenged with identifying some of the key issues needing solutions, and asked to come up with new products or services that would address them. They then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges from Bright Red Triangle, Edinburgh Napier’s local enterprise support hub, and legal firms Anderson Strathern and Morton Fraser, who were asked to assess the ideas and provide feedback.

Deborah Lovell, CRE partner at Anderson Strathern, was impressed: “Innovation is key to the future of legal practice. It was inspiring to hear the diverse ideas put to the panel and the students demonstrated a clear ability to think beyond the traditional application of legal skills into innovation and enterprise. One group presented an idea that we believe could be offered as a bespoke service to clients, and we are pleased to be working further with them to help them develop their idea.”

Richard Whitecross, lecturer in law at Edinburgh Napier University, said the students had left with very good professional feedback.

According to Ann Davidson, SIE’s Enterprise Programme director and a law graduate herself, this activity will not only give these future lawyers a better understanding of enterprise and their own role in entrepreneurship: the training in innovative thinking will help them progress their careers after graduation.

There is a lot of potential in this area, which is attracting increased attention from universities and other support agencies in Scotland, who with the help of SIE and others plan to develop an annual “Hack the Law” event at the University of Strathclyde, inviting participation from law students across Scotland.

Contributed by the SIE team
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