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Oscar winner celebrates law firm’s support for deaf children

Published Date: 05 Apr 2019

Oscar-winning actress Rachel Shenton gave a special message at law firm Fieldfisher’s Corporate Responsibility Awards on Tuesday 2nd April. The actress, who won an Oscar last year for her film The Silent Child, spoke about how important Fieldfisher’s work for deaf children is and why deaf children need to be supported.

The award ceremony, which took place at the law firm’s London office in Riverbank House, was attended by over 150 guests including representatives from the National Deaf Children’s Society, charity partners like Mencap, as well as partners, associates and support staff across the firm who were honoured for their commitment to corporate responsibility.

The event celebrated the breadth of Fieldfisher’s pro bono work, in particular their ongoing relationship with the National Deaf Children’s Society. The partnership with the charity has seen Fieldfisher provide over £750,000 of legal support to families with deaf children by fighting for deaf children’s rights to education support.

Speaking about the firm’s support for deaf children, Rachel Shenton, who is currently starring in BBC comedy White Gold said:

“I want to say a huge thank you to Fieldfisher for the last five years of support.

“You’ve supported over 50 deaf children, committed 70 lawyers and provided £750,000 worth of your time – and you’ve won every case! On behalf of everyone at the National Deaf Children’s Society, we feel indebted to you for the support you’ve shown - it really matters.”

Emma Cross, who leads the charity’s support, advice and legal work added:

“Deaf children’s education has been undermined in recent years, they are struggling to get the support they are entitled to. We’ve seen support cut back, we’ve seen specialist teachers laid off, threatening the progress that deaf children have made to reach their full potential. Against this backdrop, the incredible support Fieldfisher has given to deaf children up and down the country couldn’t be more important.

“Lawyers across the firm have been challenging legal decisions and fighting for the education of deaf children for the last five years. The difference they have made in these children’s lives cannot be underestimated.”

Shireen Irani, Fieldfisher’s Director of Corporate Responsibility, added:

"Our lawyers gain so much through our partnership with the National Deaf Children's Society. Not only do we get to work with amazing clients, but we are also able to use our skills for a cause we truly believe in, opening doors to educational opportunities that would otherwise be denied to deaf children. As a firm, we are delighted to celebrate this enduring five-year relationship with the charity and to recognise the commitment of our respective advocates, who have won every single case they have worked on.

"We know there is nothing a deaf child can’t achieve without the right support, yet too many parents continue to suffer frustration and disappointment at the lack of help their children receive – this is something our team are tackling each and every day.”

"Our work with the National Deaf Children’s Society, Mencap, Prisoners' Advice Service, Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre and our many other civil society partners are integral to the fabric of the firm. So many of our colleagues go above and beyond for our pro bono clients; they create new charity relationships; set up outstanding fundraising challenges and introduce new initiatives that make a difference in society – this is the work that brings added purpose to their careers."

Fieldfisher continues to prioritise its pro bono work, and has expanded the team in recent years. Shireen Irani is supported by Catriona Filmer, Head of Pro Bono and Millie Hawes, Corporate Responsibility Executive, along with twelve other staff members around the firm who lead and coordinate the firm's key programmes.