Annual list ranks Stephensons among top legal aid providers

Stephensons Solicitors LLP has been ranked among the top three highest earning legal aid law firms in a Ministry of Justice report released today.
 
According to information released by justice minister Jonathan Djanogly, in the year ending March 2010, the firm earned £5,770,453 from the annual legal aid budget of £2.1billion. The figure represents payments made in the financial year 2009/10, and includes sums for VAT and disbursements incurred.
 
Ann Harrison, chairwoman of Stephensons, said: “Stephensons has provided legal advice to many of the most vulnerable members of society, funded by legal aid for almost 35 years.
 
“We’re a large regional law firm, employing more than 350 staff in the North West. We provide expertise in many areas of community law including welfare, debt, family, consumer, employment, personal injury, clinical negligence, crime and appeals.
 
“We are proud of this long-standing commitment to the community and our position in the top legal aid earners rankings, which is why we’re against proposed cuts to the legal aid budget that could reduce access to justice for those who need it most.”
 
The ‘Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill’, which will set out the reforms which Stephensons is opposed to, is expected to be announced this week.
 
Ann said: “In the last year, we have acted in almost ten thousand cases funded by legal aid. This is a colossal amount of assistance and without the funding in place, these people would have been denied their human right to justice.
 
“If funding is cut, the only options are to pay for a solicitor or to deal with the problem without the benefit of specialist legal advice. We are very worried that for people who cannot afford good legal representation they will be left unable to enforce and defend their legal rights.”
 
Stephensons has been meeting with local MPs to raise awareness of the legal aid reforms and is urging local people to contact their MP to let them know their own opinion of the legal aid changes. For more information visit www.soundoffforjustice.org.
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors
Stephensons is one of the region’s largest law firms and has seven offices across Wigan, Leigh, Bolton, Manchester and St Helens. The award-winning firm has 30 partners and more than 350 staff and offers legal services to businesses and individuals. For more information, visit www.stephensons.co.uk.
 
Media information:          Lianne Tracey
                                    Stephensons Solicitors LLP
                                    T: 01942 774225
                                    E: Lianne.tracey@stephensons.co.uk