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Law Centre NI blog

Read about the work of Law Centre NI and how we are helping people throughout Northern Ireland.

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Law Centre NI’s Justice First Fellow 2022: Investing in the future of social justice law

Picture of Jennifer Gorman Law Centre NI Justice First Fellow

At the Law Centre, we are proud to be acting again as a host organisation for the Justice First Fellowship Scheme. This programme is funded by The Legal Education Foundation and works to bring legal apprentices into the area of social welfare law. The 2022 candidate is now the third Justice First Fellow that we have committed to training. We recognise the importance of investing in future talent in order to bolster services in social welfare law.

This year’s trainee solicitor is Jennifer Gorman. Jennifer commenced her training contract with the Law Centre in September 2022. Having obtained her qualifying law degree from Queen’s University Belfast, Jennifer has joined us having previously working as a paralegal in the public sector. She is pleased that her apprenticeship at the Law Centre will allow her to progress her career in the specialism of social welfare law. Jennifer will undertake in-office training in our three key practice areas – social security, employment and immigration law. As well as the in-office training, Jennifer will also commence academic training at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies.

A key aspect of the Justice First Fellowship programme is that fellows are supported by their host organisation to devise and run their own project. The aim of the project is to increase and ensure access to justice for the public. Since commencing her training contract, Jennifer has taken a keen interest in studying the current projects in place at the Law Centre and has already undertaken preparations for her own project, which will be in the area of immigration.

I have long been interested in training to better understand and assist in social welfare law. This interest originated from both personal and practical involvement with social welfare matters, where I could see social needs and desired to have the expertise to help. The Law Centre has been a welcoming organisation that has demonstrated their strong commitment to social welfare matters and access to justice. I have enjoyed learning from their skilled and dedicated staff and look forward to all that I will do and learn as my training contract progresses

Jennifer Gorman
Law Centre NI's Justice First Fellow
Ursula O'Hare Director of Law Centre NI

Reflections from our Director

Welcome to our new website!  We hope that it shows just how much the Law Centre matters.  It is a vital resource for making people’s rights real even in the midst of upheaval.  Every day we see how lives can be transformed because we have resolved a problem or taken a case through to representation in tribunal or court in order to seek justice for our client.

This year, we have faced an unprecedented demand for our legal services. With the generous support of our funders, we have been able to increase our capacity to support more people throughout Northern Ireland.

You might like to read about our Migration Justice Project which is focused on resolving migrants’ status so they can start building their lives in a new community here.  Our policy work in this field has been catalytic in mobilising others to campaign against unfair changes in the immigration system.

We are always looking ahead to the next generation of social justice lawyers. We are thrilled, therefore, to welcome our third Justice First Fellowship to the Law Centre. This scheme is a vital way of ensuring that there will be a pipeline of new social justice lawyers for the future.

The work we do is only possible because of the generous support we receive from our funders. We thank them all for their acknowledgement that specialist legal services change lives and their confidence in supporting us to do just
that.

Enjoy the website.  We will be developing it further over the coming months and we look forward to bringing you more news and client stories about the work of the Law Centre.

Media enquiries

Media enquiries and interview requests will be handled by our Communications Officer.  Please contact Catherine McShane on 028 9024 4401 or email catherine.mcshane@lawcentreni.org.