Law Centre trainees prominent in latest cohort of Justice First Fellows

Thursday, February 25th 2021


The Legal Education Foundation has celebrated its latest cohort of Justice First Fellowship graduates – with half the cohort having trained in Law Centres.

Law Centres were proud again to feature prominently among the host organisations for the prestigious training scheme for social welfare lawyers and future sector leaders. Law Centres have served as host organisations every year since the Fellowship’s establishment.

The Justice First Fellowship was set up in 2014 with the aim of creating a route for Fellows to become leaders in social justice and important advocates for access to justice and the rule of law. Fellows are placed in a variety of legal advice host organisations which are responsible for supervising and supporting them through a two-year training programme leading to qualification. 

Applications for the Fellowship are welcomed from people from less advantaged backgrounds and those with lived experience of the issues that social justice lawyers tackle. Selection for the scheme is competitive for both trainees and host organisations. This year’s graduates include:

  • Najwa Hassan, Speakeasy Law Centre
  • April Hall, North East Law Centre
  • Syeda Afaz, Ealing Law Centre
  • Pippa Banham, Suffolk Law Centre
  • Jess Haley, Bristol Law Centre
  • Ruth Mercer, Southwark Law Centre
  • Tom Lavin, Merseyside Law Centre

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hard-won celebrations could not be held in person. Instead, graduates, hosts and invited guests enjoyed an online celebration.

Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, head of policy and profile at the Law Centres Network, said:

“Our warm congratulations go to all graduating Fellows, especially those who have spent the past two years in Law Centres. We wish them every success as qualified social justice lawyers. We would also like to thank the Legal Education Foundation for its truly vital support for the legal advice sector’s workforce and sustainability.”

Yet more Law Centres are hosting Justice First Fellows to graduate in the following cohorts, continuing a successful partnership.