Nominations for the Legal Aid Practitioners Group’s 2016 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) awards are now open, with LAPG seeking entrants in 11 award categories, including children’s rights, public law and mental health.
In a new development, the legal aid newcomer award is being sponsored by crowdfunding – sometimes described as akin to a ‘digital whip round’ – with supporters of the awards being asked to donate sums from £10 towards the cost of staging the event. LAPG believes this is the first time a legal awards has used crowdfunding in this way.
LAPG director Carol Storer says the move reflects the reality that it is increasingly difficult in the current financial climate to raise sponsorship for these non-profit-making awards, and is in keeping with the unique collaborative spirit of the LALYs. Money raised from crowdfunding will go towards the cost of staging the event, and in particular to help keep the cost of entry tickets low, so they are affordable to anyone who wants to attend.
Storer says: ‘The Legal Aid Newcomer award is always one of the highlights of the evening, as the great work being done by newer members of the profession is a tremendous inspiration to all of us. It seemed fitting to use crowdfunding to drum up sponsorship in this way, so everyone can show solidarity with legal aid lawyers, young and old.’
Donations are from £10, and anyone who donates will become a Friend of LALY16, with their name published in the programme and shown on screen during the ceremony. Find out more – and donate – here.
Storer says: ‘We have already had generous donations from some of the leading names in access to justice, including Geoffrey Bindman and Imran Khan. Cherie Booth QC, who chaired our judging panel for 10 years, has also made a contribution – which reflects just how much loyalty the LALYs inspire in the profession. We are hoping for a really long list of names, not just for the financial contribution, but to send a very strong signal about how we are all in this together and the pride we take in being publicly recognised as friends and supporters of legal aid.’
The closing date for donations and nominations is 25 April. The ceremony is on 7 July, where the awards will be presented by Doreen Lawrence. Tickets for the event will go on sale shortly.
Fiona Bawdon is co-organiser of the LALYs
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