Four law firms with national reputations have combined their resources to offer a continuing guaranteed level of service to their Prison Law clients who are located outside their geographical area.
Under the 2010 Prison Law contract, there are restrictions on travelling for firms and this has led to some clients struggling to find a law firm which specialises in Prison Law. As a result of the Legal Aid cut backs, Switalskis Solicitors LLP, Stephensons Solicitors LLP, Stevens Solicitors and Morgans have agreed a framework which should continue to assist vulnerable clients in need of specialist legal advice.
Under the ‘Diamond’ scheme, each member firm will be able to refer a client to another member with confidence that the client will receive a similar level of service from other members to their own.
Tony Quinlan, associate solicitor at Switalskis Solicitors LLP and head of Prison Law, said: “This new arrangement will allow the member firms to easily refer cases which they themselves cannot deal with due to funding restrictions.”
Mike Pemberton, partner and head of Civil Liberties at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, added: “The benefit of the scheme is that clients can be re-assured they are in safe hands because we are all satisfied that the levels of service and expertise at each member firm are similar. If enquiries are received from another geographical area then the client will be referred to another member firm straight away and they will then take the necessary action.”
Carl Buckley, partner and head of the Prison and Public Law department at Stevens Solicitors confirmed: “In the cases that need immediate attention, our arrangements mean that we can speak to the closest member firm to arrange urgent action where required.”
Sarah Grace, director at Morgans, said that she had confidence in the new scheme which would speed up the referrals process. “In the past there have been delays in trying to find a suitable firm to refer enquires to. This arrangement will allow member firms to refer cases to each other very quickly and arrange advice as soon as possible.”
The member firms are:
Switalskis Solicitors LLP Stephensons Solicitors LLP
19 Cheapside 10-14 Library Street
Wakefield WF1 2SD Wigan WN1 1NN
T: 01924 882000 T: 01942 777777
F: 01924 290333 F: 01942 774543
Stevens Solicitors Morgans Solicitors Limited
Bank Passage Elgin House 106 - 107 St. Mary Street
Stafford ST16 2JR Cardiff, CF10 1DX
T: 01785 250908 T: 02920 729888
F: 01785 251370 F: 02920 729898