Yesterday the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 received Royal Assent. We also want LegalVoice to serve as an online forum to exchange ideas and share good practice in the post-LASPO world.
None of us who have been involved in the legal aid world can ever remember a time so challenging for practitioners. For many, the reforms will lead to the end of their time as dedicated legal aid lawyers following the cuts in scope of the legal aid scheme.
Indeed, it has been said recently (more than once), that it’s too late to launch a magazine aimed at legal aid lawyers and the legal not-for-profit sector. We disagree (obviously). We think that there has never been a more important time to have a dedicated resource for legal aid lawyers. It has become almost impossible to keep on top of the relentless changes in government policy and initiatives.
The idea for launching an online magazine arose out of work funded by the Baring Foundation to produce a series of guides for law centres (soon to be be published on the Law Centres Federation website). The idea for that project followed an initiative to save South West London Law Centres from going into administration. Following that experience, it seemed vital that there was a website where practitioners could share information and ideas. I could not find any online resource that was meeting this need so I asked my friends Vicky Ling, Jon Robins and Matthew Howgate whether they would participate if the project got off the ground. I’m delighted that they all said yes. That was six months ago and since then Jon and I have been working on making the online magazine happen.
We chose to make LegalVoice an online magazine because we knew that we would be able to react far quicker to announcements and events. We also felt that with an eye on viability, our costs would be lower.
This magazine would not have launched without the very generous support of our sponsors. We have received financial support from Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields and other City firms. We have also received valuable logistical support from A&O and Lexis Nexis.
This magazine is being funded by a mixture of donations and sponsorship. We are proud that this is a free resource. We feel a responsibility to make this an inclusive project – we want to work with all representative groups and all practitioners in private practice and the not-for-profit sector. We are pleased to have secured the support of so many of the major representative groups. If we have overlooked anyone, please let us know.
We also need your help to spread the word. Our success on attracting future sponsors depends upon how many people view the site. Please do tell as many people as you know about this magazine. By doing so, you will help us maximise the long term potential for LegalVoice.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be adding lots of content which will make LegalVoice a lively and compelling read.
The magazine will be updated constantly. Come back soon.
Very best wishes,
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