Birmingham lawyer wins national recognition for pro bono work

Ruth Creed, a senior solicitor at the Birmingham office of national law firm Mills & Reeve, has bagged a second award for her pro bono work.

Named Birmingham Law Society’s Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year in March this year, Ruth has now added a national award for launching the Birmingham Free Legal Advice Group (FLAG), in conjunction with Birmingham Law School, to her trophy cabinet.

The specialist healthcare lawyer won the “best contribution by an individual” at the LawWorks Pro Bono Awards, in conjunction with the Law Society.

The awards were judged by an independent panel comprising Vera Baird QC, former Solicitor General; Linda Lee, President of the Law Society and Ros Taylor, editor of guardian.co.uk/law. Ruth accepted the award at a ceremony at the Law Society headquarters in Chancery Lane, London.

Birmingham FLAG is a free legal advice clinic run by law students from the University of Birmingham, supervised by more than 30 lawyers from Mills & Reeve. The initiative has now been running for more than a year. More than 20 people have consulted the advisors on a wide range of legal issues, ranging from matrimonial and family disputes, wills and employment, to neighbour disputes.

Guy Hinchley, managing partner of Mills & Reeve, said: “As well as providing free legal advice against a backdrop of cut-backs in public funding and Legal Aid, the FLAG scheme is designed to provide hands-on experience for the 50 legal students taking part.

“Ruth’s energy and enthusiasm as co-ordinator of the initiative has won support from her colleagues at Mills & Reeve, where there are four students for each place vying to get involved in the scheme. We are delighted that she has been recognised for her hard work.”

Ruth was recently elected chair of Birmingham Law Society’s (BLS) new pro bono committee, and co-opted onto the organisation’s council. The new committee will support, co-ordinate and promote pro bono work among BLS members and the local community.

Ruth said: “I was delighted to accept the award in recognition of the hard work that has gone into establishing Birmingham FLAG. With the help of my colleagues at Mills & Reeve and the students at Birmingham Law School I believe we are making a real difference to people in the local community who cannot access legal advice.

“I hope to put my experience to good use working with the BLS members. Some of the law firms and chambers in the city already engage in pro bono work, and we hope to encourage more to do so. It is hugely rewarding and can provide valuable experience and build skills, particularly for young lawyers.”

 

Picture caption: Ruth Creed (right) accepts her award from Vera Baird QC


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