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Clarion Shortlisted for National LawWorks Award

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Yorkshire-based Clarion is one of just three regional law firms nationwide to be shortlisted for a prestigious LawWorks Pro Bono Award.

Yorkshire-based Clarion is one of just three regional law firms nationwide to be shortlisted for a prestigious LawWorks Pro Bono Award.

The firm has been put forward for Best Contribution by a Regional Law Firm in recognition of its community efforts, after setting up a free legal advice clinic at Harehills & Chapeltown Law Centre. Launched in August 2008, the service provides local residents with access to quality counsel on a number of issues, ranging from employment and contractual matters to debt recovery and housing.

From trainees through to partners, almost half of the fee earners at Clarion volunteer to host the sessions which take place for two hours every fortnight and the scheme has been a resounding success. Over the last year, the team has provided advice worth more than £20,000 to over 100 residents, helping to resolve what can be extremely stressful and complicated situations for those seeking help.

Estelle Oates, associate at Clarion said: "Pro bono work forms a fundamental part of our commitment to being a socially responsible business and this programme is designed to give direct access to quality legal advice for those who really need it, but would otherwise not have access to it.

"We have helped people facing a wide range of problems but these are increasingly recession or debt related; whether it is issues about rent payments and tenancy agreements, personal bankruptcy, demands from utility companies or disciplinary procedures at work. These people are under great stress but the Law Centre can help; we want local people to know that they can come to the Law Centre as a first point of contact for expert and confidential help, free of charge."

The district of Chapeltown is one of the city's most deprived inner-city areas and many of its residents do not have the means to seek quality legal advice when they need it. The Law Centre is open daily but doesn't have the resource to provide advice on all legal issues so relies on Clarion to bring its expertise to the community.

The coveted LawWorks awards attract some of the most highly regarded law firms across the UK. They celebrate the best legal pro bono activities undertaken by organisations and individuals, showcasing the positive impact they had on those who sought help.

The winners will be announced at the LawWorks awards ceremony on Tuesday, 15 June.

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Photo caption: Paul Mann, manager of Leeds Law Centre, joined by (l-r) Joanna Downes and Estelle Oates from Clarion.