‘A ray of hope’: The first ‘Justice First’ fellows qualify as solicitors

The first nine ‘Justice First’ fellows have qualified as solicitors. The lawyers had joined the Legal Education Foundation’s scheme in its first year in 2014 and trained with organisations including the Public Law Project, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, and Coventry Law Centre.

You can read interviews with the fellows on LegalVoice here.

The nine fellows are Melissa Darnbrough (Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit); Deidre Flanigan (Govan Law Centre); Fanny Forest (Coventry Law Centre); Maryam Hussain (Deighton Pierce Glynn); Nadia Hussain (Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit); Helen Roberts (Speakeasy Advice Centre); Debra Robinson (Staffordshire North and Stoke on Trent Citizens Advice Bureaux); Amber Rowsell (Coram Children’s Legal Centre); and Katy Watts (Public Law Project).

Another nine Fellows are due to qualify as solicitors in early 2018 and 15 in late 2018/early 2019, including the first two barrister Fellows.

‘The fellowship scheme felt like a ray of hope, coming at a time of legal aid cuts and closures in the advice sector,’ commented Denise McDowell, director of Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit. ‘The financial contribution is important – without it, we would never have been able to find the money for a new post – but it’s more than that. It is about optimism, and investing in the future and saying “We are not done yet


About Jon Robins

Jon is a journalist and has written about the law and justice for the national papers and specialist press for more than 15 years. Jon is a visiting journalism lecturer at Winchester University, a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln and patron of Hackney Community Law Centre. He has won the Bar Council’s legal reporter of the year award twice (2015 and 2005). Jon is editor and co-founder of LegalVoice

There are 2 comments

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    What worries me about all this is professional independence from the legal ‘profession’ .

    At the moment it is unclear what is meant by solicitor/ profession and with now all provided by legal services companies the distinctions are blurred.

    And, more importantly, the executive/state appears more and more to control, and train the future legal profession, and therefore, potentially, the judiciary.

    This is not good for democracy and the separation of powers .


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