FULL COMMENT: Haringey Law Centre and Debevoise and Plimpton LLP win a 2017 LawWorks Pro Bono Award!
Haringey Law Centre is delighted to announce that our Disability Benefits Appeals Project, delivered pro bono by volunteers lawyers from Debevoise and Plimpton LLP has won a 2017 LawWorks Annual Pro Bono award!
The LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards recognise and celebrate achievement in legal pro bono undertaken by organisations and individuals and the dedication and commitment of the legal sector to positively impact individuals and communities. This year’s awards ceremony was held on Tuesday 5th December 2017 at the Law Society in Chancery Lane, London. It was hosted by the BBC’s Paddy O’Connell, with the event’s keynote lecture and awards presentation being given by Hilarie Bass, President of the American Bar Association.
The Haringey Law Centre/Debevoise and Plimpton Disability Benefits Appeals project beat nine other shortlisted projects to win the ‘Most Effective Pro Bono Partnership’ award (read more about the project and our shortlisting HERE) . The judges commended Haringey Law Centre staff and the Debevoise and Plimpton volunteers for being “both inventive and resilient” and for providing “a high quality much-needed service for local people”.
(Photo Credit: Matt Cetti-Roberts)
Reacting to the news that we had won the award, Haringey Law Centre Manager Victor Amadigwe; Development Officer Miranda Grell; and the Project’s Law Centre Co-ordinator Chris Papaloizou said: “We are thrilled to have won this award and are very grateful to Debevoise for helping us to run the Disability Benefits Appeals project at Haringey Law Centre. The project is helping our clients to regain the dignity they deserve, as well as bring our Law Centre back to life. Haringey Law Centre has been through a very difficult time over the past few years but receiving this award is yet another positive step back on the road to a thriving Law Centre in Haringey.”
Julie Pickworth, a volunteer lawyer from Debevoise and Plimpton LLP (who attended the awards ceremony with colleagues and fellow project volunteers Peter Bates and Charles Low), said: “We are delighted to receive this award. It’s a fantastic partnership. We’ve worked very closely together. We’ve been successful for our clients and the Law Centre has been tremendously supportive of Debevoise’s contribution. This project has truly benefited all of Debevoise and Plimpton’s lawyers – from the trainees through to the partners”.
Emma Rehal-Wilde, Pro Bono Manager at Debevoise and Plimpton LLP (pictured above with Law Centres Network Director Julie Bishop and Haringey Law Centre’s Victor Amadigwe at our first meeting to discuss the project in November 2016) said:
“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have won “Most Effective Partnership” at the LawWorks’ Pro Bono Awards, because there wouldn’t be a need for Debevoise and Haringey Law Centre (HLC) to partner on a disability welfare benefits project. But the reality is that Haringey is an area of huge need, where many go without legal support and advice because of a serious lack of law centres and legal advisors. Consequently, HLC services a geographical area far larger than its resources allow.
The welfare benefits project between Debevoise and HLC is, therefore, an important step towards addressing this need. I am very happy that Debevoise and HLC won the award, because it recognizes the hard work and dedication of the lawyers and staff of both organizations, who have worked tirelessly to make the project work for Haringey residents. I am immensely proud to be part of the project, and am honoured to be able to work with the committed HLC staff.”
Our achievement was also celebrated by Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, Head of Policy and Profile at the Law Centres Network (pictured above celebrating with Miranda Grell), who said: “This award celebrates a wonderful collaboration that helps the people of Haringey take action against injustice. Not only does it secure the livelihood of sick and disabled people, but it flies in the face of unfair welfare reform and legal aid cuts. Coming at a tough time, Debevoise support has helped the Law Centre turn a corner, and we are proud of all they have achieved together.”
Haringey Law Centre would like to formally thank Debevoise and Plimpton LLP, particularly Pro Bono Manager Emma Rehal-Wilde and Partner Geoff Burgess, without whom this project would not have happened. We also wish to thank Cllr Lorna Reith, local councillor for Tottenham Hale ward, who wrote a statement in support of our nomination. A special thank you also to Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of LawWorks; James Sandbach, Head of Policy at LawWorks and all the team at LawWorks for their hard work in organising the awards. We extend our warmest congratulations to all the other 2017 award winners and finalists.