The firm is awarded for the engagement of clients in its Access to Justice Programme

18 Oct 2018

International law firm Simmons & Simmons has been awarded for Excellence in Pro Bono at the annual Law Society Excellence Awards. The firm were awarded for the engagement of clients in its Access to Justice Programme

Now in its fourth year, over the past year the firm extended this programme to clients to offer opportunities to carry out end to end case work. This has enabled volunteers from the firm’s clients to utilise their skills and provide a valuable service to those in the community who would otherwise be left unable to access justice.

Of primary importance is the strategic impact the Programme continues to have by assisting vulnerable individuals in a post LASP era. The focus on assisting with appeals for vulnerable people means that the assistance is delivered where most needed. Many of the people the Programme assists would not challenge an adverse decision if they did not receive help.

The Programme has taken on 166 cases and achieved backdated payments of over £385,000. When taking into consideration advance awards, the total achieved for vulnerable clients is over £1m. Many volunteers from the firm’s clients have contributed to this figure.

The Award was presented at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, and was presented by Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society, and collected by Access to Justice programme leader, Diane Sechi, International Pro Bono Manager Olga Hancock, and Pro Bono lawyer Chloe O’Brien. Representatives of the clients, and partner and associates involved in the programme also attended.

This award follows a highly impactful year of pro bono work at Simmons & Simmons, who have been involved in a number of significant projects. Among these projects includes the launch of a Human Rights Defenders Toolbox - the first centralised online resource for rural communities and lawyers. The firm also worked with Child Soldiers International to create the first online database for child soldiers. So far in 2018, the firm has worked over 16,000 pro bono hours, worth a total of £5m.

Commenting on the award win and pro bono at Simmons & Simmons, partner, Richard Dyton said: “We are delighted to have been recognised in this way. We feel it is a long overdue reflection of the importance of the work this team does (both here within Simmons & Simmons and with our partner clients). This award will enable us to step up the advice given to one of the most vulnerable groups within our society. We are pleased that so many lawyers want to take on the appeals, achieving (as they do) such spectacular results."

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