A recent BBC News investigation has found that looked-after teenagers over the age of 16 are at risk of exploitation and abuse whilst residing in unregulated homes across England and Wales. Such accommodation avoids inspection and regulation due to its provision of ‘support’ opposed to ‘care’, despite the vulnerabilities of these young people. According to figures from the Department for Education, about 5,500 looked after children in England were living in this type of accommodation, up 70% from 10 years ago. This increase is attributable to the rise of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)- these are experiences in which children are exposed to domestic violence, neglect, abuse, drug and alcohol addiction and untreated mental illness. The recent BBC news article highlights cases at Centurion Care. One incident involves a resident who was not provided with sufficient care following incidents of self-harm, and another incident involved resident who absconded for a week despite being seen getting into a car with a large group of males. One of the primary issues that the report highlights is that vulnerable young people were typically placed in towns away from where they were brought up. The Association of Directors of Children's Services said: "There is a national shortage of foster carers and a growing disconnect between the location of residential children's homes and need." The Department for Education in England has described how local authorities have a legal duty to ensure there is suitable accommodation for these children. Local authorities are in breach of duty in allowing the existence of these unregulated care homes that enable young people to be exposed to exploitation. In a welcome move, the government has recently announced a £30 million funding boost that will assist law enforcement with pioneering new technologies to track down paedophiles operating online and help safeguard children who have been abused. [...]
We are pleased to share that Nadia Butt from the National Legal Service Solicitors Birmingham office has been awarded the Family Law Advanced Accreditation from The Law Society, specialising in Children Private Law and Violence in the Home.
For Nadia to have achieved the Family Law Advanced Accreditation she had to demonstrate that she has and will maintain the required level of competence and knowledge, as defined by the Law Society in her chosen specialist areas of Family Law.
Nadia’s achievement demonstrates her skill set and expertise and we are delighted to see her achieve that recognition at National Legal Service Solicitors.
Nadia Butt said:
Achieving this accreditation was important to me as it furthers my aim to provide the highest quality of legal services to my clients; demonstrating our devotion to their circumstances, which can often be a challenging time for them. From a personal perspective, I wanted to be an expert in my field and highlight my commitment to Family Law.
Kirsty Richards, Head of Family, said:
I am delighted for Nadia’s achievement in respect of her Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation. She has worked hard to receive that recognition and mark of excellence. It has been a celebrated moment for all at NLS but especially for the team at our Birmingham Branch that work with Nadia on a daily basis. It is so lovely to see everyone cheer her success and I look forward to the next stages of her career development with us.
Currently I am a Supervising Solicitor for Guildford and Southampton at NLS. I started at NLS at a time when I was looking for growth and recognition. NLS is known for investing in its staff and ensuring job satisfaction. I wasn’t wrong and I haven’t looked back since!
I was always very interested in sociology and family dynamics, as our perceptions as a society changed and we realised that a nuclear family isn’t always the right fit for everyone. I was fascinated by families that change and reshape themselves for a happier life. Law has always been an extremely exciting and dynamic industry so combining both was always going to be an organic outcome for me.
I specialise in a range of areas within family law, such as: Divorce. Childcare. Private and Public Law Children. Financial Relief. Domestic Abuse.
I feel that at the core of my personal policies I place the most vulnerable in the dynamic who are the children. If you are pursuing the best outcome for the most vulnerable in any given situation you will always be in a winning position. Apart from this I think the key strength for any lawyer is research, always be prepared and organised.
My accreditation for Family Law. I only qualified short while ago, however it is such an honour and so rare to acquire panel membership in such a short time that I am immensely proud of this achievement. It is a demonstrable reward of all my hard work and recognition of knowledge and experience.
NLS is vastly different to any other firm that I’ve worked for because of its staff. It is a forward thinking dynamic employer. NLS has made diversity its strength, we have a large cohort of female and BAME lawyers we are proud of and every single person brings something special to the table. We value a hard work ethic and we recruit team players. The quality of my peers is definitely what sets us apart.
My favourite part of the job is knowing that in a small way I can make a difference for the better to people’s lives. That I can ensure the safety and security of people who sometimes haven’t had that in a long while. My clients and their needs are paramount, I don’t view my clients as cases to win or lose but as people to ‘secure’. ‘securing’ safety, happiness, peace of mind, basic human rights are the most satisfying part of my job. The most challenging part of my job is definitely the billing aspect, I am better with words than numbers!
I volunteer for the Citizens Advice Bureau and East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services, both are extremely rewarding opportunities to give back to your community. I also volunteer at the homeless shelter opposite Grays Inn in London on Sundays. The ‘guests’ who visit for a warm meal and someone to talk to are always a pleasure to speak to and learn from and the coffee is always very good!
In my spare time I enjoy travelling, learning and living new cultures, I love to come out of my comfort zone and travel to places a little off the beaten track and live a life that’s teaches you something different. My favourite so far has been living in a Berber village. I think for our own personal growth and to evolve, it is important to see things from perspectives other than your own. I think it was Foucault who said that if I feel the same way about something in 10 years then I have failed to evolve.
My current role is supervising a team of caseworkers, paralegal and a solicitor in our Birmingham office. I was previously working for a national law firm managing the Milton Keynes branch as well as supporting the Luton and Cardiff offices as a Director of the Family Law. I ultimately joined NLS, six months after my initial contact with them– I felt it was a natural progression for my career and me as a person. I accepted an offer to join and moved back to Birmingham to help launch & staff our Birmingham office.
My very first responsibility was to support a senior partner in childcare cases. I realised family law was my strength as I was helping the court make decisions for children – some of the most vulnerable in our society – and helping people in difficult family related situations.
I took on a family law caseload whilst still a paralegal and trained in the area. Now, I look back and feel it was the best decision and I am learning new things every day.
I specialise in private family disputes between families/couples in respect of children, divorce, matrimonial finances and domestic abuse protection. I also specialise in childcare law assisting parents and accredited by the Law Society to represent children and their interests involved in court proceedings including removal from their parents, supervision by the local authority and being placed in secure accommodation.
I particularly enjoy being in court- I believe I am an effective advocate in court and able to absorb large amounts of important information quickly and submit the key points to a court succinctly.
I am accused of being a perfectionist when it comes to content and presentation of court documents; I feel I am able to work well with vulnerable clients assisting the court in understanding their needs.
Challenging a local authority about the unfair and arbitrary way they had been treating my client over a month. This meant applying to court and waiting a further month before being able to bring the local authority to task about their behaviour. Once in court my actions asking for an urgent hearing were vindicated with the lack of care for my client being admitted by the local authority.
NLS is a firm focussed on client care- we deal with large volumes of vulnerable people whom need our help and help from the court.
We help our clients achieve what they need to safely live their lives without fear. To do this, we monitor every client very carefully ensuring discussions take place and court orders are secured where available within several days of first contact with a client.
Solicitors and caseworkers are directly available for clients to speak to, our teams are trained to high standards with direct support to empower them to work their best for the benefit of our clients.
My favourite element of my work is achieving a positive outcome for my client allowing them to walk away from court having achieved what they sought or needed for a safe, peaceful life or to ensure any children involved are safe & happy.
I am a volunteer for the University of Law and Birmingham City University as a mentor for students seeking help, guidance & support with entering the legal sector and working life.
When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my wife & sons, reading, cooking and keeping fit.
National Legal Service Solicitors is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Trainee Solicitors who will soon commence their 2 year training contracts.
Selected following a rigorous assessment process, the chosen two were among 8 internal applicants employed as Paralegals within our 19 branch offices.
Paul Scripps and Gurveet Kular, from our London and Birmingham offices, will provide legal advice and services to NLS’s clients across the country. NLS currently provides training seats within Family, Care, Crime and Extradition. We are now looking to develop secondment relationships with other firms which will enable us to provide an even wider variety of seats within other areas of law.
Kate Probert, Head of HR said:
We are delighted to appoint our second intake of Trainee Solicitors after what has been an exhaustive selection process. As a business, we choose to appoint Trainees from our existing team rather than recruiting externally. This allows us to reward the dedication and hard work of our staff and continually develop our teams. They are our Solicitors and Supervisors of the future. It is always disappointing for those who are not successful in their application but we now work to support them ready for the next round of applications later this year. I look forward to seeing all of our Trainees progress their careers with NLS.
Kirsty Richards, Training Principal & Head Of Family said:
It’s always a pleasure to reward hardworking and committed paralegals with the opportunity to further their legal career by becoming a Trainee Solicitor at NLS. Despite only being into a year of business, we have just awarded our 5th Training Contract and we are confident that will allow NLS to continue on it’s trajectory of growth and success. Well done to the successful applicants.
National Legal Service Solicitors is pleased to announce two internal senior promotions to support its plans for growth.
We celebrate the promotions of Fatimah Iqbal & Gita Duggal to Supervising Solicitors with effect from 1st April 2019. In recognition of their hard work & dedication, the firm supported them in completing their Family Law Panel Accreditation.
Fatimah based in our Guildford office specialises in Divorce, Financial Remedy, Private Law Children, Domestic Abuse, Public Law and Probate. Fatimah qualified in England and Wales in 2017 and subsequently joined a boutique practice in North London.
Gita Duggal spearheads the Luton office and is known in local community groups. Gita qualified in 2011 and has significant experience in dealing with a private caseload consisting of divorce, financial and children matters.
Kirsty Richards, Head of Family at NLS commented “It is great to be able to announce the promotion of these esteemed solicitors to supervisors. We believe in nurturing and developing talent and these well-deserved promotions are evidence to that commitment”
National Legal Service Solicitors have offices across 19 locations including Birmingham, Manchester, Luton, Wolverhampton, Coventry & Bristol. To view our current vacancies, please click here