Students from The College of Law scooped top accolades during the annual Junior Lawyers Division Pro Bono Awards, which celebrated young lawyers’ voluntary work to provide legal advice to people otherwise unable to access it.
The ceremony took place at the Law Society in London during National Pro Bono Week and recognised individual pro bono activities and participation in team projects.
Ali Asad Naqvi, who completed his Legal Practice Course at the College’s Bloomsbury centre earlier this year, won the Student Award for his work with Shelter Hertfordshire, which provides housing advice and assistance to Hertfordshire residents.
Another former Bloomsbury LPC student, Sabrina Mahtani, received the Trainee Award for her work for with female prisoners in Sierra Leone, where she set up a project to improve their literacy and take up their legal issues.
Sabrina Mahtani receives her Trainee Award
Former LPC student at the College’s York centre, Siobhan Howard-Palmer, picked up a Highly Commended for her work with the Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Bloomsbury centre as a whole gained a Highly Commended in the Student Team category for the students’ voluntary work with the National Centre for Domestic Violence, which helps the sufferers of domestic violence obtain free, fast, legal advice, assistance and advocacy.
Sara Chandler, Director of Pro Bono Services at The College of Law, said: “Pro Bono is an extremely important aspect of the activities of the College and its students and we are proud that our work has been recognised in this way. It provides free legal advice to people who cannot afford to pay, while at the same time enabling students to learn from practical experience.”
Winner, Student Award - Ali Asad Naqvi Whilst studying for the LPC Ali volunteered his free time on a pro bono basis with Shelter Hertfordshire which provides housing advice and assistance to Hertfordshire residents. As part of their service, they offer free legal advice and representation to anyone facing eviction because of rent or mortgage arrears. Ali was a dedicated volunteer for Shelter and made a significant impact on the functioning and the finances of the organisation.
Winner, Trainee Award - Sabrina Mahtani Sabrina is a trainee at Fisher Meredith in London. Before starting her training contract she worked for the Special Court for Sierra Leone on a defence team in the RUF Trial and the Sierra Leone Court Monitoring Programme. Since 2006 she has been working with female prisoners in Sierra Leone subsequently setting up AdvocAid which aims to improve female prisoners' literacy and also take up their legal issues. Although starting her training contract in 2007 Sabrina continues to devote her free time to the project and on her last trip she carried out training for law students in order to continue the work of AdvocAid.
Highly commended, Student category - Siobhan Howard-Palmer Siobhan's interest in pro bono work began while she was working at Chapeltown CAB during her first year at Leeds University. She continued her work at the CAB during her LPC year until she started her training contract with Halliwells in Sheffield earlier this year. Throughout her LPC year she has consistently impressed with her enthusiasm for pro bono work and her keen participation in a wide range of schemes whilst also working at the CAB and doing the LPC full time.
Highly commended, Student Team category – The College of Law, Bloomsbury The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) is a pioneering organisation set up to help the sufferers of domestic violence obtain free, fast, legal advice, assistance and advocacy. The NCDV works in partnership with a number of law schools, organisations and private practice, to whom clients are referred if they qualify for legal aid. A team of 29 students from the Bloomsbury centre of The College of Law volunteered with the NCDV from December 2007 to August 2008. During that time they helped over 180 clients suffering from domestic violence.