Media Release: Legal scholarship launched to honour whisky matriarch

INTERNATIONAL law firm, Pinsent Masons, has joined forces with premium spirits company, William Grant & Sons, to offer a scholarship celebrating one of the firm’s most important alumnus.

The Janet Sheed Roberts Legal Scholarship has been developed in recognition of the contribution which Ms. Roberts – a grand-daughter of William Grant, the spirits entrepreneur – made as one of the first female lawyers to practise in Scotland.

‘Wee Janie’, as she was known to the Grant family, studied for a Bachelor’s degree at Glasgow University before moving to Edinburgh University where she gained a law degree, having been the only woman in her class.

She subsequently practised law for a number of years at McGrigor Donald – a legacy firm of Pinsent Masons – where she met her future husband, Eric Roberts. Ms. Roberts died earlier this year at the age of 110.

Ian Lyall, a Partner at Pinsent Masons who has been involved in establishing the scholarship, said: “Ms. Roberts was a remarkable woman and a pioneer, having entered the legal profession at a time when it was dominated by men.

“She has played a prominent role both in the history of the firm and the legal profession in Scotland, and for that reason it seemed fitting that we work with William Grant & Sons to honour her in this way.”

Greg Bargeton, head of Legal for William Grant & Sons, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to work closely with Pinsent Masons to bring this programme together.

“We are keen to find tomorrow’s pioneers and trailblazers who can show the same spirit and determination as befits Janet’s legacy.

“This scholarship is really about finding an exceptional talent and giving him or her the opportunity to flourish irrespective of economic background.”

The scholarship will provide £4,000 per academic year for five years for a student from Scotland who can demonstrate a need for financial support.

In addition to this, the successful applicant will be offered a holiday placement at both William Grant & Sons and Pinsent Masons before being given the chance to apply for a training contract with either organisation.

The scholarship is open to first-year students of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Strathclyde universities and applications are invited by 30 November 2012.


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