25 June 2013, The Lawyer
Staff at Coventry Law Centre fought off fierce competition and were judged runners-up in the The Lawyer magazine’s prestigious Ethical Initiative Awards for their work with troubled families, coming second to national charity Refugee Action.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Sandi Toksvig in London on Tuesday night, 25th June, and was attended by more than 1,400 lawyers.
With funding from The Baring Foundation, Coventry Law Centre has placed a specialist advice worker, Anne White, within the City Council’s ‘Troubled Families’ team. Anne is an expert in welfare benefits and debt advice, and refers other issues to Law Centre colleagues so a comprehensive advice service is provided to families who would otherwise go without help.
Law Centre Director Sue Bent and Troubled Families Worker Anne White at the Lawyer Awards ceremony in London
The project highlights the need for government funding for this type of work, following the withdrawal of legal aid. Law Centre staff will work with 750 families over three years and will show that specialist legal advice is often a key factor to success in working with troubled families and to prove that future policy should reflect this.
“We are so proud that our project was runner-up for this sought after award,” said Law Centre Director Sue Bent. “It shows that Law Centres can be at the forefront even when we are competing with multi- national firms that have vast budgets. The work we are doing is challenging but, in partnership with Coventry City Council, we have a real opportunity to help change lives. It is timely that the award was made on the same day as the Government acknowledged the success of the overall approach to working with troubled families by announcing its extension with a further investment of £200m nationally.”
Professor Harinder Bahra, Chair of Coventry Law Centre added: “On behalf of the trustees, I would like to congratulate Sue, Anne and our funders on developing such an exciting life-changing initiative. The project highlights the important contribution that Law Centres can make in helping communities at a time when austerity measures and social changes are eroding the fabric of society. We can only progress as a nation if we ensure disadvantaged communities remain engaged and socially included.” Catrin Griffiths, Editor of The Lawyer, commented:” The Lawyer Awards is the biggest night in the legal calendar. It honours a spread of achievements across the legal profession. Our award for Ethical Initiative of the Year spans a variety of work and also showcases the work done by Law Centres. Congratulations to them for their achievements."
For more information please contact Elayne Hill, Senior Solicitor, Coventry Law Centre firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also shortlisted were Islington Law Centre, Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Kent Law Clinic, Reed Smith, Refugee Action and White & Case.
For more details see The Lawyer website.