HCLC Solicitor Paul Heron wins Law Society Excellence Award!

HCLC is delighted to announce that following our shortlisting for two of this year’s Law Society Excellence AwardsHCLC solicitor Paul Heron (pictured below) beat off stiff competition to win this year’s ‘Solicitor of the year – in house’ category!  HCLC was also shortlisted in the ‘Excellence in Innovation’ category following the launch of our Community Law Shops ‘pop-up’ advice service, which takes place every Monday between 2pm and 5pm in Hackney Central Library.

The Law Society Excellence Awards reward the most outstanding practitioners in the legal profession and are open to the entire legal sector, not just solicitors. Entries were judged by specialist judges, including Adam Sampson, former Chief Executive of housing charity Shelter, now Chief Executive of the Legal Ombudsman; Frances Gibb, legal editor at The Times; and Chris Marston, head of professional practices at Lloyds TSB.

The winners were announced by BBC broadcaster Mishal Husain at a special black-tie dinner and presentation ceremony, which took place on October 18th at Old Billingsgate, London.

Reacting to the news that he had won the Excellence Award Paul Heron said:

“I am really pleased to receive this Law Society Excellence Award as an acknowledgement not just of the work that I do but also the hard work and commitment to social justice demonstrated by the staff, solicitors, caseworkers, interns and volunteers here at the Hackney Community Law Centre day-in and day-out.

It is a shame, however, that at a time when we should be fully celebrating and building on this success, the cuts to legal aid will threaten HCLC’s ability to help an ever growing number of vulnerable people obtain access to justice“.

Chair of Hackney Community Law Centre Ian Rathbone said:

Paul Heron’s excellence award demonstrates that though Hackney Community Law Centre may be small and not have all the resources of bigger commercial companies, we have lawyers with a strong sense of justice and the persistence and integrity to carry that through for clients. Paul is a great lawyer for the people of Hackney“.

Please find a selection of photos from the Old Billingsgate black-tie dinner and presentation ceremony below:

A Law Society ‘Red’ carpet welcomes guests to the event 

The HCLC boys looked rather dapper!

The HCLC girls didn’t look too bad either!

We were delighted to finally meet our colleagues from Streetwise Law Centre in person.  At the pre-dinner reception, Carolyn Osbourne (first on the left) from Streetwise chatted to us along with Lord Willy Bach (pictured third from left)

Paul and Carolyn Osbourne (pictured above right) has been shortlisted in the same Solicitor of the Year-In House category.  We were really pleased that Carolyn received the ‘Highly Commended’ award in this category

When BBC Broadcaster and Mistress of Ceremonies Mishal Husain (pictured above left with Paul) started to mention that the winner of the Solicitor-In House of the Year category had pioneered work with young people affected by the 2011 riots we knew (a very shocked) Paul had won!

Paul received his award and certificate from Law Society President Lucy Scott-Moncrieff (pictured above left) and Colin Wallace of Hiscox (pictured above right) who had kindly sponsored Paul’s award

A shocked and delighted Paul returned to the HCLC table to be congratulated by HCLC colleague (and former winner of the ‘Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year’ award) Nathaniel Mathews (pictured above left)

HCLC Manager Sean Canning (pictured above left) and Interim Development Officer Miranda Grell congratulated Paul on his fantastic achievement 

Lord Willy Bach extended his congratulations

*Many thanks again to all of those people who supported Paul’s and HCLC’s nominations, shortlisting and victory in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2012!!!!!*