Birmingham Law School is delighted to announce two CEPLER nominations in the 2014 Birmingham Law Society Awards category of Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year: Linden Thomas, our own CEPLER In-House Solicitor; and Hayley Simonds, Trainee Solicitor at Mills & Reeve LLP and Chair of their Birmingham Free Legal Advice Group (FLAG) Committee. 

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Linden Thomas joined CEPLER last September from SGH Martineau LLP and has made an exceptional start to her Birmingham Law School Career, launching two new Pro Bono Group projects in the first semester. Linden is a former winner of the Legal Award for Trainee Solicitor of the Year in 2011. She sits on Birmingham Law Society Council, is a member of the Law Society’s Pro Bono and Student Committees, a trustee for Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau and chair of the Bureau's personnel committee.

Hayley Simonds is a Birmingham Law School alumna and was the very first student FLAG Volunteer when the project was set up by Dr Bharat Malkani in 2010.  In her pro bono work at Mills & Reeve LLP she leads a 13-strong committee of volunteer trainee solicitors and paralegals who support the efficient running of the Mills & Reeve FLAG advice provision, together with a solicitor volunteer base of 30. Hayley is also nominated in the category of Trainee Solicitor of the Year.

Birmingham FLAG provides free legal advice in a large range of legal areas to members of the local community. It is CEPLER’s principal Pro Bono Group project, involving around a hundred students and providing them with opportunities to make a difference and develop their skills in interviewing, client care, drafting and research.