Naomi Bentley-Lawson, a child protection solicitor at Warwickshire County Council, has been named Local Government Young Solicitor of the Year for 2011.
Bentley-Lawson, who specialises in safeguarding and children’s services, received the award at a black tie dinner on Friday as part of the Weekend School in Exeter.
The judges highlighted the following in choosing Naomi as the winner:
*Shown great tact in managing innovative solutions in a sensitive area of local government legal practice.
*Led a number of high profile, complex cases including advocacy in the Magistrates, County and High Court.
*Renewed important practice guidelines for the safeguarding of children and built excellent relationships with other agencies.
*Committed to the wider strategic and business planning functions of her directorate.
*Providing training to officers, members and Advisory Panels.
*Awareness of the changing policy background to her practice and a significant contribution to achieving efficiencies and focus with regard to the Legal Advice to the Child Protection Service in very challenging times.
Naomi said “Not only is this a great personal success, I am thrilled that the work of Young People’s Legal Services at Warwickshire County Council has been recognised. Child protection is a complex area of law, which challenges you academically, creatively, and on an emotional level. The service we provide is invaluable to achieving better outcomes for children, and this award will inspire the team further to continue providing an outstanding legal service.”
The other shortlisted candidates were Sarah Bonser, a solicitor in the planning and highways team at Kent County Council, and Sabrina Sangha, who works in the corporate team at Thurrock Borough Council.
The Young Solicitor of the Year award has been running since 2005 and is sponsored by law firm Trowers & Hamlins. It is intended to recognise the unique and valuable contribution that young solicitors make to their authorities and communities.