Anthony Gold at the Law Works Annual Pro Bono Awards
On Monday 3 December 2018, over 250 people, from across a plethora of different sectors of law, charity and advice work, descended on the Law Society at Chancery Lane to celebrate the pro bono commitment of LawWorks members, individuals and advice clinics at the Law Works Annual Pro Bono Awards.
Of the 10 awards, two members of Anthony Gold were nominated: Giles Peaker (Housing Partner) was (unsurprisingly) shortlisted for the “Outstanding Contribution to Access to Justice Award” and (to my utter delight and surprise) I was awarded the “Junior Lawyers Division Pro Bono Award”.
Prior to the award-giving ceremony, the Rt Hon David Lammy MP for Tottenham gave an inspiring lecture, focusing on his work campaigning to change the systemic inequality and racial bias within the justice system, including of course mention of the small issue (crisis) of the disproportionate dominance of upper class male whiteness of the English judiciary. Mr Lammy also spoke of the excellent work being done pro bono and how important this work is in enabling access to justice for those who cannot otherwise afford to obtain help. He also reminded everyone that working to obtain access to justice is two-pronged: (1) doing pro bono work to fill a seemingly ever-increasing void in access to justice; and (2) remembering to also be engaged with politics and to continue to campaign for systemic and effective change within government so that the void does not continue to grow.
The lecture caused me to pause and reflect on the involvement of lawyers in campaigning and the importance of organisations such as The Law Society, Law Works and, from a personal injury perspective, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers for campaigning tirelessly and preparing reports to understand the impact of changes (both in anticipation of change and post facto) and to preserve and fight for access to justice for all. Whilst the Civil Liabilities Bill awaits its Royal Assent, one reflects on the gradual stripping away of access to justice for individuals in the context of personal injury claims now too, with the introduction of fixed fees for claims under a certain value, rendering many firms unable to continue to do such work; in years to come will many personal injury claims have fallen to the remit of pro bono too? Read more about APIL’s work on campaigning about this.
As Pro Bono co-ordinator at Anthony Gold, I am very proud of the wide-ranging pro bono work that the staff at this firm do, from paralegals to partners and in many different areas of law, both within their day to day role and working with external partners across London. In 2019, I hope that that this great work continues, supporting the ethos of the firm in “helping the vulnerable, championing causes and seeking funding models that work for all”.