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Aiding the underdog

When Russell Conway went into the law, legal aid forms were green, blue and pink, and despite the cuts, he remains committed to helping those who can't help themselves

10 May 2017

It’s that time again when we all bid for new legal aid contracts. Firms throughout the land will be glued to their computers this May, sweating over not making some fatal error in their bid.

The process reminds me of an auction for a valuable painting, house, or something more esoteric, like a stamp collection. But at these auctions we walk away with something we want: complex, underpaid legal work with often demanding clients who are at their wits end.

My bank manager always looks at me sideways when I explain that my average hourly rate for legal aid work is less than £75, while working for private clients I can generate somewhere between £250 to £350 an hour.

Aware that I could simply decline to bid I remind myself that working for legal aid clients was the very reason I went into the law 40 years ago. As a fr...

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