Nicola Jones-King, Head of the Division is very pleased to announce that the team has been shortlisted for a Law Society Excellence award within the Family and Children Division, in recognition of what the team has done to promote access to justice, particularly during the pandemic which has impacted victims of domestic violence and children at risk during the lockdown. Nicola says “the last few months have seen major changes for everyone, and family justice is no expectation, the sad fact is that the lockdown has had substantial impacted on those most vulnerable, with marked increases in those seeking protection from domestic violence, forced marriage, the return of children after contact and social services proceedings. At such times the need to be able to access experience and sensitive legal advice is even more important. Everyone in the team has worked hard to be accessible and to adapt to the shifting need and the new challenges of remote advice, different formats for hearings and flexible hours, to meet those increased needs. Being shortlisted for such an important award that recognises those who go the extra mile to ensure the most vulnerable in society are not denied justice, is one of the most important things any solicitor can do. It goes to the core of what makes the profession such an essential element of the welfare state, by ensuring the sort of safeguards that are all too often taken for granted, are there when people need them, is a real achievement. Having been a campaigner on legal aid issues for much of my own career, I am particularly proud that my team are shortlisted for their efforts in this area”
MW part of the Taylor Rose group, advises clients across a wide range of services. Taylor Rose McMillan Williams is a multi-branch law firm with 31 offices, covering Cumbria to Sussex, with headquarters in London. A specialist Family Law team undertake publicly funded certificated work and private family work across all types of family law from Abduction, Adoption, Care, Child Arrangements, Divorce, Forced Marriages, FGM issues, Family Law Act applications, Financial Remedies through to Wardship.
We are a strong, dedicated team of lawyers with a commitment to Legal Aid, and an emphasis on growing young lawyers. We have recruited 1-2 Newly Qualified Solicitors each year, for the last 5 years, from within our training programme, and brought in NQ’s qualifying in other firms, to build a robust team and nurture new Legal Aid Family Solicitors. They have developed close links with agencies in the geographical areas they cover; each has a responsibility for a location and works to be embedded in that community, which we strongly believe is the key to clients feeling confident that their needs are understood. We encourage quality staff by having Solicitors with specialist memberships and active committee engagement, to offer the best levels of service, by being Children Panel, Family Panel and Resolution accredited. We are members of the Association of Lawyers for Children and we’re involved in committee work at all levels of Resolution including ‘YRes’. Members of the team work with Local Family Justice Boards, the Family Drug & Alcohol Court, and other Family Justice organisations. We have an enviable reputation in Care Proceedings, with nine Children Panel Solicitors; Nicola Jones-King, Amarjit Ryatt, Sheila Gulliver, Sarah, Newens, Barbara Macdonald, Charlotte Collier, Elen Davies, Lisa Ursell, Keeley Lengthorn; with two others working towards their applications.
We 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 we will go the extra mile for each one. We are members of FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) offering online domestic abuse advice and representation.
The team has shown an overwhelming commitment to helping the increasing number of victims of domestic violence, during this current national health crisis; very quickly adapting to new working methods and managing to prepare and lodge applications for Non-Molestation, Occupation Orders & Forced Marriage Protection Orders within 1-2 days, to achieve protection for the most vulnerable. We quickly adopted Zoom, Teams & Skype, and were able to offer remote advice immediately, with court applications and representations continuing. It is a testament to the team that we are being sought out as the firm that can ensure protection for victims quickly, having not allowed the constraints of working remotely to impact quality of service provided to those who are in desperate need. This period has shown the enhanced skills and dedication of our team, whose commitment and innovation, has allowed our clients to be supported throughout.