A billing team who saved the day after their Bolton-based firm’s IT supplier was subject to a cyberattack; a solicitor described as ‘an extraordinary force for good’ for her work with Albanian children seeking asylum in the UK; and the managing director of a legal aid firm in rural West Wales have all been selected as finalists in this year’s LALY awards.


LAPG is proud to announce the names of the 27 individuals, six organisations, and one team, who have made the shortlist the 2024 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards, a non-profit-making event celebrating the work of grassroots social justice lawyers (see full list, below). The event is now into its 22nd year and is unique in the legal aid calendar.

The winners in these 11 award categories will be announced at a central London ceremony on 5 July, along with the winner of the 2024 Outstanding Achievement award, which is the highest honour the LALY judges can bestow.

LAPG CEO Chris Minnoch says:


‘Team LALY sends its warmest congratulations to all our finalists. The standard of entries was exceptional and is a testament to the resilience, professionalism and sheer humanity of those on the social justice front line. We are particularly pleased to be able to honour not just the lawyers and case workers, but also the support staff, who are so often the glue that keeps these organisations together to ensure their colleagues can continue to deliver access to justice ‘

LALY24 finalists include:

  • Bolton-based AFG Law’s family billing team who worked tirelessly to salvage the situation when the firm stood to lose 3,000 client files after its then IT supplier was victim of a cyberattack. After the Legal Aid Agency said they were unable to help and blocked the firm from its portal, the billing team ‘rolled up their sleeves and looked at new and creative ways to get through the crisis’.
  • Esme Madill, from the Migrant & Refugee Children’s Legal Unit at Islington Law Centre, who is the driving force being Breaking the Chains, which supports Albanian children in the UK. In a video testimonial, young Albanians describe Esme as their ‘champion’ and praise her for ‘fighting with everything she has so children have the chance to rebuild their lives’.
  • Katy Hanson, vice-chair of Criminal Law Solicitors Association, and managing director of Welch & Co, which has offices in rural West Wales. Katy is ‘bucking the trend’ by bringing large numbers of young lawyers into criminal defence work, and runs a ‘dynamic, progressive, multi-disciplinary firm’.

Full list of LALY24 finalists, below:

1. Legal Aid Newcomer

John Crowley – Leigh Day

Mira Hammad – Garden Court North Chambers

Nicholas Hughes – Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Ollie Persey – Garden Court Chambers

2. Legal Aid Support Staffer/Support Team

Family Billing Team – AFG LAW

Helen Fanning – MJC Law

Mia Hakl-Law – Garden Court Chambers

Silvana Velez – Leigh Day

3. Housing Law

Michael Marshall – UCL Integrated Legal Advice Clinic

Rose Pritchard – Community Law Partnership

4. Family Legal Aid incl. Children’s Rights

Oliver Conway – Oliver Fisher Solicitors

Tash Fairweather – Hanne & Co Solicitors

Jenny Newton – TV Edwards

5. Criminal Defence

Amy Cox – Sonn Macmillan Walker Solicitors

Rebecca Freitas – Ringrose Law

Katy Hanson – Welch & Co Solicitors

6. Legal Aid Barrister

Nick Bano – Garden Court Chambers

Mani Singh Basi – 4PB

Miranda Butler – Landmark Chambers

7. Legal Aid Firm/Not-for-Profit Agency

Harrow Law Centre

Public Interest Law Centre

Wilson Solicitors LLP

8. Regional Legal Aid Firm/Not-for-Profit Agency

North Yorkshire Citizens Advice and Law Centre

TRP Solicitors

Watkins Solicitors

9. Social Welfare Law

Eleanor Bulmer – Butler & Co

Sabira Kashmiri – South West London Law Centres

Esme Madill – Islington Law Centre

10. Disability Rights

Emma Bergin – Irwin Mitchell LLP

Lauren Crow – MJC Law

Tam Gill – Gledhill Gill Solicitors

11. Public Law

Bahar Ata – Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Sophie Naftalin – Bhatt Murphy

Paul Keeley – South West London Law Centres


  • 39 Essex Chambers
  • Accesspoint
  • Communicourt
  • DG Legal
  • Doughty Street Chambers
  • Friends of LALY24
  • Leigh Day
  • Matrix Chambers
  • Miles & Partners
  • One Pump Court
  • Resolution
  • The Bar Council
  • The Law Society
  • The Legal Education Foundation

Media partner – Legal Action Group

Purchase your tickets here

For more information, contact:

Chris Minnoch, LAPG CEO: chris.minnoch@lapg.co.uk

Fiona Bawdon, LALY co-organiser: fiona.bawdon@gmail.com