Sean Canning – manager
Sean started his career working in the social housing movement where he began work as a housing worker before becoming Director of An Teach Irish Housing Association, an organisation which specialises in working with young, single homeless people in Haringey.
Sean has worked in the Law Centre movement for the last eight years as Director of the North Kensington Law Centre. He has extensive experience of fundraising, managing legal aid contracts and developing volunteer programmes.
Sean was instrumental in setting up the Advice Now project in Kensington and Chelsea – a collaborative £500,000 project funded by the Big Lottery Fund to offer a wider range of all types of advice services.
Sean has been Treasurer of the Law Centres Federation for three years (2007-2010) and has served as a member of the Law Centres Federation Executive Committe for several years.
He is a school governor.
Wendy Pettifer – solicitor
It is 35 years since Wendy started out in Manchester Law Centre when it first opened. She has been committed to working with the most vulnerable sections of UK society ever since.
She moved to Hackney 30 years ago when she was a single parent, running an Advice Centre at Centreprise for 9 years. She worked part-time throughout her full time Law degree in the 80s and qualified as a solictior in 1992, having completed a training contract with Winstanley Burgess.
Wendy worked in private practice for 12 years as a social welfare lawyer, supervising housing and family contracts in Tottenham and Hackney. She completed her Masters Degree in Refugee Studies in 2003 and during this period worked for 6 months in Cairo, supervising interns in a Legal Aid project assisting refugees with applications to UNHCR.
Wendy is bi-lingual and has travelled widely in Europe Africa and the Middle East. She currently maintains her interest in International Human Rights as a delegate with REMDH in Tunisia.
Wendy took 6 years out of practice to run a pro bono unit with the College of Law, but returned to practice to work in the Law Centre in 2011. The work of the Law Centre is an integral part of her life and she hopes she still contribute to supporting and helping people on the margins of our society to be housed and obtain sufficient money to survive in these harsh times.
Nathaniel Mathews – solicitor
Nathaniel Mathews is the senior solicitor at HCLC. He was born in the UK but spent much of his childhood abroad in Mexico, Italy and Kuwait. He has worked at HCLC since qualifying as a solicitor in 1994. He heads the Social Welfare Team.
In 2006, Nathaniel was awarded the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award (Social Welfare).
In his spare time, in a personal capacity, he writes a blog called ‘Frontline Hackney – a day in the life of the Law‘.
Diane Morrison – solicitor
Diane Morrison joined the Law Centre as a typist in May 2005 (initially on a part time basis). She then qualified as a Generalist Adviser with the CAB (Holborn) on a part-time basis and became the Law Centre’s main adviser alongside the specialist caseworkers. She still volunteers with the CAB. From 2009 onwards she started the Law Centre’s volunteer programme which was then upgraded with input from Ms. Wendy Pettifer.
Diane’s main experience has been in the social welfare law team – alongside supporting the volunteers with front level advice work and represents the Centre at the London Borough of Hackney’s Public Service Promise meetings.
Outside of the Law Centre she is also a keen distance runner (she successfully completed her fourth marathon in London in April 2012).
She also believes the world’s problems could be solved if more people learned knitting and embroidery. She is a member of the Womens’ Institute (Alexander Palace) and has joined the London Comedy Writers circuit as an outlet for writing sketch comedy. She was also the secretary of the St Ignatius Soup Run for 11 years and is a member of a choir.
Hilton von Herbert – senior supervising immigration caseworker
With well over ten years of experience as an accredited Senior Caseworker and Immigration Supervisor, in the field of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, Hilton joined Hackney Community Law Centre in April 2009 having previously worked at Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau, Nucleus Legal Advice Centre and Lambeth Law Centre.
He qualified with a Law Degree from the University of London and has many years of experience in delivering training in Immigration Law. He has also been involved in some high profile Parliamentary Lobbying which have brought about significant changes in UK Immigration Law and Policy that has undoubtedly benefitted and positively impacted on the lives of thousands of people.
As a keen cyclist, Hilton has helped several charities including the British Heart Foundation and Barnados raise money and awareness for their campaigns by engaging in charitable cycle rides and fundraising events. He is fluent in Krio and he loves the study of anthropology.
Hope Olugbola – debt caseworker
Hope joined Hackney Law Centre in November 2006.
He worked for the Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau in Mare Street, in the same position, for four years before joining HCLC.
Hope runs Hackney Law Centre’s Debt Advice project funded by Hackney Homes for council tenants. He works out of all five neighbourhood office across the borough.
He is also a LSC Debt caseworker Supervisor.
Hope is an approved Debt Relief Order intermediary and an accredited member of Institute of Money Advisers.
In his spare time, Hope is an active volunteer member of a charity-Life Gate, where he offers support, counselling and life-skills training to individuals and families in crisis.
Hope is married and has two boys.
Tayyabah Ahmed – solicitor
Tayyabah has been a qualified solicitor since August 2008. She completed her training at a private practice firm in Paddington. Tayyabah’s main areas of specialism include housing, civil and family law, and she generally prefers to do her own advocacy at court as she has completed Higher Rights of Audience (stage 1).
Tayyabah studied at City University and completed a LLB (Hons). She completed her LPC at The College of Law.
Prior to joining HCLC, Tayyabah worked for the national housing charity Shelter.
In her spare time, Tayyabah is a trustee of a community centre in east London and she is also a school governor. Tayyabah also assists in providing pro bono legal advice to a women’s domestic violence organisation. She is a firm believer of helping others where we can, as she says this makes us even more grateful for everything we have.
The remainder of Tayyabah’s spare time (albeit limited) is spent traveling; as she loves a good adventure!
Miranda Grell – development officer
Miranda came to HCLC in February 2011 as part of the first intake in a new formalised volunteer programme where she worked on housing and immigration and asylum law cases. Miranda then became an intern with HCLC in October 2011, answering calls on our telephone adviceline and seeing ‘drop-in’ clients for face-to-face appointments. Miranda is now HCLC’s interim Development Officer working with the Centre’s Manager to fundraise and build HCLC’s capacity and profile in a difficult financial time.
Prior to coming to HCLC, Miranda had successfully completed a Graduate Diploma in Law at City Law School, gaining a distinction in constitutional law, and undertook a number of legal placements and mini pupillages. She also spent six months with a busy children’s legal charity. Miranda had previously worked for the then Deputy Mayor of London as her researcher and was also a local Councillor. She also worked for the conciliation service Acas as a Senior Policy Advisor and in Brussels as a trainee speechwriter to the then European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs.
Miranda has a First Class degree in European Studies with Modern Languages (Spanish and German) from the University of Manchester and a Masters in International Employment Relations from the London School of Economics. Following the successful completion of her Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) in 2010, she is now studying on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) part-time and is a proud member of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and the Criminal Bar Association.
Miranda loves to travel (when she can afford it), good food (she is now swimming regularly to burn it off!) and music – especially old skool UK garage, soca, merengue and opera. She also loves spending time with her gorgeous 5 year old niece and with her beautiful God daughter and sister who live in Frankfurt, Germany. In the US Presidential Elections in 2008, Miranda campaigned for Barack Obama in London and in Florida. She remains one of President Obama’s most die-hard supporters….
*The solicitors, caseworkers, interns and volunteers are assisted by Bella – administrator, Kim – administrator and Cheryl - legal secretary*.