Young Legal Aid Lawyers group celebrates 10th birthday at Kent

Legal professionals, law students and campaigners for social justice celebrated the 10th birthday of Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) at an event held on Kent’s Canterbury campus.

The event at Keynes College was organised by Kent Law School student Gemma Blythe to raise awareness of cuts to legal aid and as a forum for the discussion of work in the legal aid sector. It was hosted by Kent Law School alumna Subashini Nathan, an immigration paralegal at Birnberg, Peirce and Partners, who actively campaigns against cuts in publicly funded work through the Justice Alliance.

A prestigious panel of speakers comprised Oliver Saxby QC of 6 Pump Court chambers; Karen Todner, Managing Director of Kaim Todner Solicitors; Nick Fairweather, CEO of Fairweather Solicitors LLP; and Robin Murray, Senior Partner of Robin Murray & Co and Vice Chairman of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association’s national committee (CLSA).

During the evening attendees also watched a screening of Legal Aid Team’s ‘Wham! Bash! Pow! The superheroes battling to save legal aid’, a satirical animated superhero adventure film, pitting three lawyers against the justice minister, Chris Grayling.

Gemma, a Stage 2 LLB Law student studying part-time at Kent’s Medway campus, said the event was a huge success, with many students joining the YLAL Kent group: ‘We were delighted to see so many students take an interest in legal aid and social justice. YLAL believes that the provision of good quality publicly funded legal help is essential to protecting the interests of the vulnerable in society and upholding the rule of law.​

‘Looking ahead to the next 10 years, it will depend on the next government, but YLAL will continue to campaign for a sustainable and fair legal aid system, for social mobility and diversity within the legal aid sector. It will also continue to provide a supportive network for students, new entrants to the profession and young lawyers.’

YLAL members include students, paralegals, trainee solicitors, pupil barristers and qualified junior lawyers. The next meeting of the Kent group will be held in Canterbury later this summer, with an experienced legal aid lawyer talking about their experiences. Further details are available on YLAL Kent’s Facebook page or via email at: