We are delighted to announce that Refugee Legal Support Athens (RLS) is the winner of the Pro Bono Award at the 2018 LexisNexis Legal Awards. Duncan Lewis Solicitors are proud to be part of Refugee Legal Support Athens (RLS) and to have contributed to their success.
About RLS and their operations in Athens
RLS is a successor to the pilot Athens Legal Support Project of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association that ran between 10th April and 28th July 2017 to assess the impact of legal advice on time scales and outcomes for asylum seekers arriving in Greece. Barristers and solicitors volunteered their time to travel to Greece and assist asylum-seekers to access advice, prepare their asylum claims and navigate the process more successfully. The project was entirely funded by donations.
We were able to offer our legal skills, language proficiency and fundraising expertise.
Trainee solicitors, Sondos Arafa and Elena Georgiou, travelled to Athens to provide advice and assistance to refugees at the project's clinic, with their language skills being a valuable tool in communicating and translating documents.
Immigration Director Zofia Duszynska raised key funds for the project, including £10,000 from Norton Rose Fullbright. Having previously spent time in Calais, Zofia had impeccable knowledge of the challenges faced by refugees, as well as those working with them.
As a member of both the Duncan Lewis Pro Bono Committee and RLS Executive Committee, Marios Kontos remains heavily involved in the coordination of the project. Apart from volunteering in Athens himself, Marios recently achieved the reunification of an asylum seeking family of five in the UK with the assistance of RLS.
"The success of RLS is a message to the legal sector that joint initiatives of legal professionals can make a real difference in the lives of the vulnerable and marginalised. With their commitment to pro bono and the sophisticated provision of legal services, Duncan Lewis Solicitors remain at the forefront of these synergies and continue to give people a voice".
“This is a project which faced huge challenges – working together with other not-for-profit organisations in an alien legal environment with newly-arrived and traumatised individuals. In a single year, RLS has shown that our knowledge and commitment can make a huge difference. We now need more funds to continue the good work.”
LexisNexis Legal Awards
This year LexisNexis celebrates its 200th anniversary, making yesterday’s LexisNexis Legal Awards a truly momentous occasion. The awards celebrate the legal successes and innovation across all departments of law. Amongst the many Awards given out, LexisNexis recognises the essential pro bono work done by pioneers in the legal industry. This year RLS won the Pro Bono award, supported by Duncan Lewis’ dedicated team of legal practitioners.
Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ Pro Bono committee, chaired by Duncan Lewis Family and Childcare Director Emine Mehmet, was a finalist in the LexisNexis Legal Awards 2018 Pro Bono category and the firm was shortlisted for the Legal PR / Media Comms Award. We congratulate the RLS-Athens Project, Solicitors for the Elderly and the other winners and enjoyed celebrating all successes and achievements at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane on 15th March 2018.