The Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) has announced the finalists for its 2021 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards (LALY) and the list includes three Law Centres.
This is the nineteenth year that LALYs celebrate the vital and life-changing work of social justice lawyers. The awards expand and develop every year and this year feature a new category for work on disability rights.
Among the 26 individuals and 9 organisations shortlisted for the 12 award categories this year there are three Law Centre finalists.
Jeinsen Lam of South West London Law Centres is shortlisted in the housing category. Jeinsen leads the housing team at the Croydon office of the Law Centre. He speaks out regularly on housing matters in the media and on Twitter. Recently he extended his efforts for local access to justice by also becoming a trustee of Luton Law Centre.
Kathy Cosgrove of Greater Manchester Law Centre is also shortlisted in the housing category. She is the Law Centre's senior solicitor, so leads its legal practice. Her work to prevent the eviction of some 4,000 asylum seekers by the Home Office during the pandemic lockdown has received some recent media attention.
Law Centre NI is shortlisted in the new category recognising a regional legal aid firm/not-for-profit agency. Based in Belfast but covering all of Northern Ireland, it is a busy Law Centre that complements its legal advice service with training, extensive public policy work and regular test cases to improve and clarify the law.
Ursula O'Hare, director of Law Centre NI, said:
“This is a wonderful acknowledgment of the tireless work of the whole team and of the vital role of law centres in ensuring access to justice for everyone. For over forty years, Law Centre NI has stood for a more equal and just society, using the law as tool for social change."
Chris Minnoch, CEO of Legal Aid Practitioners Group, said:
“This year’s finalists give an insight into the range, depth and breadth of the incredible life-changing work that social justice lawyers do – and the vital role they play in ensuring access to justice for individuals, families and communities... We had a bumper crop of compelling and inspiring nominations this year – despite the extreme pressures we are all facing due to the pandemic.”
Due to the pandemic, last year's awards ceremony was held remotely. In light of its success, this year’s celebrations will follow the same format, with winners to be announced live online on 6 July 2021. Registration to the awards ceremony is free and open to all via Eventbrite.
We wish the three Law Centre finalists the best of luck on the night - we are very proud of you!