Lawyers and support staff from Coram CLC’s Legal Practice Unit have received plaudits from across the legal sector over the past month for their work in protecting and promoting the rights of children, young people and families.
On 29 June 2023, Gregg Burrough, senior education solicitor, was awarded an honorary fellowship by Queen Mary University for his dedicated pro bono work with the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre. Gregg has provided vital advice and support for students in relation to special educational needs issues and disputes for many years and his efforts have yielded positive outcomes for many. Frances Ridout, Director of the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre said: “Gregg is an outstanding volunteer solicitor at the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre. He is passionate about the work he does which is clear to both his clients and the students he supervises. He is caring, patient and hardworking, providing support to many who have nowhere else to turn to. We are incredibly grateful for the exceptional contribution he gives”.
Whitney Hard, community care solicitor, was a finalist in the ‘Children’s Rights’ category at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) awards which took place on 12 July 2023. Whitney works on a wide range of matters for vulnerable children, including acting for children and young people who have been detained in custody, on remand and/or are victims of trafficking. The impact of Whitney’s work was best summed up in the words of one of her young clients: “Because of what Whitney’s done for me, I have a home. I can focus on my education and I’m getting therapy. I thank God for her”. One of her referees commented, “her brilliance, hard work and dedication to an exceptionally vulnerable client group deserves to be recognised and applauded”.
Sheree Clark, operations and finance manager who has led CCLC’s support team for many years, was also recognised as a finalist at the LALY awards in the ‘Legal Aid Support Staffer’ category. She was described as “the backbone of the organisation and an unsung legal aid hero, who never takes credit for her work”. One of her referees commented that Sheree “truly understands the meaning of working as a team for the greater good”. Former Legal Director at CCLC, now Judge Noel Arnold said, “Sheree is a woman with tremendous dedication to her work, she is a true legal aid ally: facilitating CCLC’s lawyers to do the actual practice of law. She is deserving of this award, and I don’t say that lightly”.
And finally, Qaisar Sheikh, head of education law, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Law Society’s prestigious Legal Heroes Awards 2023 (formally ‘Excellence Awards’). Lubna Shuja the President of the Law Society commented when notifying finalists: We received hundreds of nominations for solicitors across England and Wales from their clients, peers, students or friends. The calibre of nominations has been high, and many of the stories shared are very heartfelt. Qaisar was nominated by barrister Laith Dilaimi of Old Square Chambers. Mr Dilaimi highlighted Qaisar’s work in bringing important cases before the Upper Tribunal, leading to further judicial guidance in areas of SEN and discrimination. He also praised Qaisar’s efforts in developing and strengthening CCLC’s education law practice. The ceremony will take place on 7 September 2023.
Dr Carol Homden, CEO of Coram, said: “The Legal Practice Unit works tirelessly to uphold the rights and entitlements of children and young people every day, many vulnerable and forgotten. The recognition Gregg, Whitney, Sheree and Qaisar have received in the past month is testament to this and the work being carried out across CCLC. We couldn’t be prouder of our lawyers and support staff”.