John M Hayes are always thorough and meticulous in the preparation of bills but more importantly than that they are very approachable and willing to help. Dealing with them is a pleasure.
Brendan McNeany, Partner, Samuel Phillips
I trained as a solicitor in a local authority which I loved but wanted to be in the community so went to work in a horrendously busy law centre. I moved to private practice where I worked for 16 years, with a housing and family caseload. I then went to Shelter, intending to stay only for the length of the temporary contract - a year - and stayed for 5, ending up managing the team of solicitors in London. I joined LAPG in 2008.
I felt a frustration in private practice that our clients would get good results but that did not help others in the same position who did not reach lawyers or advice agencies. Working at Shelter was great because we would input into policy work. However much my interest has been housing, I felt that the cuts to legal aid also needed highlighting – so Shelter did some campaigning on those cuts. When the LAPG director post was advertised it seemed like a natural progression.
I see legal aid as a very effective way of giving people without a great deal of money a voice and ensuring that large organisations are held to account.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act which came into force on 1 April this year, taking large areas of law outside the scope of legal aid. However the plans for crime and other civil measures which were outlined in the consultation on 9 April ‘Transforming Legal Aid’ make me want to weep. Does the government not understand how much practitioners give, how hard they work, the high standards they achieve and how modest the returns are?
At secondary school I wrote an essay saying I want to be a lawyer, journalist or a politician. My job involves a little bit of each.
The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker. The books are so well written and as I grew up in Scotland I find that link of interest.
Greenwich. I live here and love it.
Surely I have to say my partner – it would be rude to list anyone else. He is very patient and quick witted. I chaired Baroness Hale at a conference this week so if I can divide the category into two and have a category for famous people then she would be my choice. Why? She is wonderfully intelligent and really inspirational.
I am most proud of the service I have given to clients over the years and hopefully to LAPG members.
The one occasion I missed a hearing due to a failure to correctly put it in the diary. It only happens once.
A member of the public who left a voicemail wanting contact details for an immigration lawyer. I explained as best I could about the changes to legal aid and referred them to the CLA Helpline.
No proverb or quote. Generally I find it unhelpful to be sarcastic or rude in dealings with people. If ever I have been, I think less of myself afterwards, however fulfilling it was at the time!
Ill thought out policy proposals to cut legal aid.