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The Birmingham Post is producing a special supplement on the Legal 500, focussing on the performance of firms in the West Midlands (see attached).

If you would like your firm to feature in the supplement, please contact:

Tony Williams
Birmingham Post
T: 0121 234 5262 | M: 07970 728274
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The supplement will be published on 23 October; please contact Tony before 17 October if you wish to be included.

EMPLOYMENT LAW

The Birmingham Post is producing a special supplement on EMPLOYMENT LAW, providing a platform for West Midlands Law Firms to promote their expertise in this sector.
If you would like your firm to feature in the supplement, please contact:

Tony Williams
Birmingham Post
T: 0121 234 5262 | M: 07970 728274
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NB: The supplement will be published on Thurs 11th December; please contact Tony before Friday 5th December if you wish to be included.

Birmingham Post Legal Column
September 2014

 BY EILEEN SCHOFIELD

Why did we become lawyers? This was the question that the Lord Chief Justice threw out to an audience of city firm managing partners, lawyers, Presidents of local societies, workers at law centres, even a few journalists who were present at the launch of the Access to Justice campaign, all of whom mulled over the question for the few moments. The LCJ was quick to answer we all became lawyers to uphold the rule of law and to ensure that justice is done by fighting for our fundamental rights.

The Access to Justice campaign was thus launched. There are 3 main aims: to raise public awareness of the injustice in not being able to access lawyer support, to persuade government to amend policy for funding and to ensure that we as lawyers make our services more accessible.

In this very column last week Steve Allen from Mills and Reeves wrote a piece focusing on law students about to embark on a legal career. He was very clear that law is a profession for those who are determined, focused and prepared to work hard to uphold the integrity of the profession and the law. Most students study law with an ideological plan to change the world. They are going to be the modern day Lord Denning forever quoted as a pillar of the legal profession.

Access to justice can be interpreted in many different ways; what is justice - is it found in the civil courts – well yes … in Birmingham as around the country lawyers alongside other professional services are the backbone of the economy. There are very few contracts around the City which haven’t been drafted by a lawyer and these contracts provide a springboard for growth, employment and prosperity. When those contracts are in dispute lawyers are called upon to see justice is done.

Justice is absolutely sought in criminal proceedings, today’s society is keen to challenge and scrutinise the legal profession such that the very people who need to have access to justice and who apply for state funding are being squeezed out of the equation. Just imagine for a moment a society where we live in fear and chaos because of the denial of access to justice.

Please support the Access to Justice campaign and simply let us know about where you believe that there is injustice.

Palace2Palace on 5 October 2014 - support our Charity, The Princes Trust

 

Dear All,

As you will be aware my chosen charity of the year is the Princes Trust. BLS are taking up the annual Palace to Palace cycle challenge to support the important work that The Trust undertakes to support young people who are not in work training or education.

One in 5 young people in the UK need this sort of support, youth unemployment costs the UK economy around £10 million a day in lost productivity.

Many of the young people supported by the Princes Trust are in or leaving care, facing such issues as homelessness or mental health problems or have been in trouble with the law.

The Princes Trust gives young people the practical and financial support they need to stabilise their lives. They also develop key skills, confidence and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, education or training.

Please support us either by cycling alongside team BLS or by donating. I will be cycling along with members of BLS, so please come along and give us a cheer.

 

You can enter your team at Palace2Palace or donate on our JustGiving page. Alternatively Text BLSE62 £5 (or any other sum you wish to donate) to 70070 to sponsor Eileen!

 

Thank you,

Eileen Schofield

President, Birmingham Law Society

 

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The area of Lozells in Birmingham came briefly to a standstill on 19 July 2014 as members of the African-Caribbean and legal communities joined with family and friends to pay tribute to Jeffrey Atkinson (Jeff), who died unexpectedly of a suspected heart attack on 26 May 2014. The 1200 capacity church on George Street was filled to much more than that, with standing room only, while several hundred people listened to service outside, stopping traffic on the Lozells road for over an hour. Well over 1000 people attended the interment at Handsworth cemetery, where Jeff was laid to rest with a combination of hymns and African drumming.

Jeff qualified in 1993, becoming the first Rastafarian lawyer in the country. He was inspired to study law having seen so many in his community abused and treated unfairly by the police and criminal justice system, so it was no surprise that he specialised in criminal law. In addition to his criminal practice, Jeff found time to support a number of community projects and mentor young people, as well as being a proud and loving husband and father of two daughters.

The uplifting funeral service was punctuated frequently by people who spoke of Jeff’s positive attitude – even in the face of adversity – and his willingness to encourage others to make the best of themselves and their abilities. Described by many as “larger than life”, due to his size and stature, as well as his personality, it was clear that Jeff was an inspiration and source of support to many in the African-Caribbean community and beyond.

In a legal environment where the challenges facing those fighting for the rights of the underprivileged and oppressed are increasing, and the number of those willing to take up those challenges are reducing, Jeff will be sadly missed.


Karen Bailey
Birmingham Law Society Council Member