David Hall congratulates Nicola Jones-King, Head of Family & Child at McMillan Williams, who has been shortlisted for The Law Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Law Society’s Excellence Awards is a nationwide annual programme that celebrate the work of solicitors and showcase the best of the profession across England and Wales. The lifetime achievement award recognises effective contribution towards the work of the profession.
Nicola, who heads up a thriving department of 28 talented lawyers at McMillan Williams, which is part of the Taylor Rose TTKW group, provides family, separation, financial remedy, children , care both private and Legal Aid services across 26 offices nationwide.
David commented "Nicola is an incredibly hard working and dedicated lawyer who over the many years I have known her has always been committed to making a difference to the lives of a huge number of children and families she represents. She manages not only a large personal caseload but one of the largest legally aided family teams in the country, and this never fails to impress me.”
Nicola, who is a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children and now Honorary Life-Time Vice President, commented “Being shortlisted is a real honour and recognises the many years of work at the coal face of high street practice and in particular work on legal aid policy issues nationally where I have campaigned to ensure desperate families have access to specialist representation in the family courts, and that young lawyers get the training and support they need to become the next generation of quality legal aid practitioners, I wish the best of luck to all shortlisted, we are a formidable group that shows what the profession can achieve”
Nicola was involved in negotiations with the Legal Services Commission along with other family law organisations over fixed fees and Legal Aid funding. She is also on the Pan London Family Drug & Alcohol Court Steering Committee and involved in supporting the setting up of the FDAC service across South London. She sits on Resolution’s National Legal Aid Committee, contributing to recent challenges & issues for Legal Aid applications, gateway evidence and financial pressures for providers during COVID-19; recent work has included working on the updating of Prior Authority Guidance in Family and the updated VHCC schemes in Family. She has also contributed to recent MOJ work on intermediary use and about to contribute to HMCTS digital work on a case management system for Care cases. She has trained a number of young lawyers many of whom remain in family law in both private firms and local authority’s.
Her team work with a number of domestic abuse organisations, providing Pro-Bono legal advice; Family Justice Centre (FJC), Bromley One Stop Shop, Chelmsford Law Clinic, Anglia Ruskin University, Next Chapter, The Link Café, Safer Places and Southend-on-Sea Domestic Abuse Projects (SOSDAP), who refer Clients directly as the team will go the extra mile for each one. They are members of FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) offering online domestic abuse advice and representation. And where at the forefront of pushing HRA claims within care proceedings, with Barbara MacDonald being involved in a leading case, and Nicola Jones-King working on the issue with the LAA and training on the issues at ALC conference. The ability to refer to other specialists within the firm (Crime, Civil, Actions Against Public Bodies), means the team offers the client a full service. Links with referrers allows Nicola and her team to provide clients with a holistic advice and support, be that around housing, refuge accommodation, benefits advice or updates from the local police. This enables them to make urgent Court applications, so vulnerable clients are immediately protected.
Nicola has been a solicitor since 1993 and has specialised in family law throughout, as she says she started work when the Children Act came into force and hasn’t looked back since! Although over the last 20 years this has been primarily in public law care proceedings and adoption, where she represents children, parents, adoption agencies and families in courts across the South East.
For more information on the Awards and to see the winners announcement on the 13th October click here.