Solicitors show support for armed forces
Law firms across the UK have pledged to offer discounted legal services to armed forces personnel as part of a nationwide initiative, Armed Forces Legal Action (AFLA).
Hundreds of law firms have already registered interest in the scheme, with over 40 firms in 30 different towns and cities across the country now offering discounted legal services.
AFLA is the brainchild of Scottish solicitor Allan Steele and was devised after he learned of the difficulties many armed forces personnel encountered in paying for legal fees. AFLA is headed by a governance team to include honorary patrons, made up of senior politicians from across the political spectrum, and an honorary president, Andrew McKendrick, a lawyer working for NATO. AFLA also has the support of the Law Society of Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Royal British Legion, St John and a number of local authorities.
In addition to offering discounted legal services for those currently serving, AFLA extends lifetime legal cover to personnel who have sustained serious combat injuries, recipients of the Victoria Cross, the George Cross and bereaved next of kin recipients of the Elizabeth Cross.
Linzie Steele, Allan's wife, is responsible for coordinating the initiative. She said: "Having law firms showing their support is an appropriate way for the legal profession to show its gratitude and respect for those who defend our laws. AFLA is not a charity - it is about the legal profession paying something back. As we say - this is for services rendered.
"It is fantastic to receive such strong support from law firms across the whole of the UK. The lawyers I have spoken to are enthusiastic about the concept and want to get involved. I would also like to thank all those who have, in their spare time and on a voluntary basis, supported the development of AFLA, including everyone at Moore Legal Technology who contributed their technological services for free and those at the Law Society of Scotland who have helped to turn Allan's vision into a reality.
"In line with Allan's original vision, AFLA was born in Scotland, established in the UK and will be practised throughout the world."
Bruce Beveridge, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "Scottish solicitor Allan Steele has done a tremendous job in galvanising interest and support for Armed Forces Legal Action project. There is now an excellent team of volunteers across the country who are making this happen. We have been very pleased to support the project team's endeavours from the outset and it has been very encouraging to see the positive response from our members for the AFLA project which will help armed forces personnel and their families."
Ken Macintosh, MSP, will host a formal reception in the Scottish Parliament on 25 June to promote AFLA. Her Majesty the Queen will be represented by lieutenancies throughout the country, who will join senior politicians and leading members of the legal and charitable sectors in learning about AFLA's achievements to date and its big plans for the future which will include expansion of the concept to a number of other nations.
AFLA's website is now live for clients to use and we would encourage interested solicitors to register. See: www.armedforceslegalaction.org.uk
ENDS 3 APRIL 2014
Notes to editor
Law firms which support AFLA can be found in the following towns and cities - for full details see the AFLA website: http://armedforceslegalaction.org.uk/for-service-personnel/
Auckland, Birmingham, Carlisle, Cheltenham, Darlington, Dumfries, Edgeware, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Hemel Hempstead, Hitchin, Jedburgh, Kendal, Leeds, Liverpool, Litchfield, London, Loughborough, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Swansea, Wilmslow, Woodbridge.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Linzie Steele (AFLA): email@example.com
Val McEwan (Law Society of Scotland): 0131 226 8884 /firstname.lastname@example.org
03 April 2014