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Lawyer of the Month April 2011 - Angela Jackman

Angela Jackman

Angela Jackman

Our Lawyer of the Month is Angela Jackman, who won an Outstanding Achievement award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Silver Jubilee awards in 2009.

Angelawon the award in recognition of her long-standing work at the Hackney Community Law Centre, her involvement in pro bono legal services and for leading in the field of Education, Mental Capacity and Community Care Law. In October 2009, she featured as a role model of achievement at the Law Society’s inaugural Black History Month celebrations and in 2010, she was a speaker at its Inspirational Evening Event.

Angela is a partner at the London office of Maxwell Gillott, which also has a branch in Lancaster, and was involved in the launch of its City office in April 2010. She had previously been a partner at Fisher Meredith, which she joined in 2001.

Chambers and Partnersfirst ranked Angela as a leader in Education Law in 2003 and she has held the prestigious rank of Band 1 Best in the UK for Education since 2009. She is also ranked in the directory as Band 3 for Civil Liberties – she has a particular interest in children’s community care issues and has developed a niche practice in Court of Protection best interest cases.

Angela graduated in Law from Balliol College, University of Oxford and qualified as a solicitor in 1987, having trained at Evans Butler Wade in Greenwich, South London.After qualification she joined the Hackney Community Law Centre and practised there for 13 years, specialising in education, immigration and asylum and housing. Whilst working at the Law Centre, she became actively involved in grassroots community groups, including the Hackney Action for Racial Equality and the Hackney Anti-Deportation campaign, and provided free advice to numerous voluntary organisations and charities.

Angela convened the Law Centre’s Federation Education Working Party and facilitated workshops at its national conferences. She was also invited by the Legal Services Commission to join a working party which devised supervisor standards in education.

She joined Fisher Meredith in 2001 and became a salaried partner in 2006, before taking up her current post at Maxwell Gillott as a partner. She and colleague Oliver Studdert head the Public Law branch of the new London office.

Angela is also an experienced writer and trainer. She co-wrote Practical Education Law, which was published by the Law Society in 2005 and regularly write articles for legal publications. She is also an established trainer for companies such as Central Law Trainingand MBL Seminars.

She is a member of the College of Law pro bono Legal Advice Centre’s advisory panel and the Secretary of the Education Law Practitioners’ Group, which organises seminars for Education Law practitioners and spearheads responses to Government consultations.

In her spare time Angela enjoys 10K runs, traditional African dance and world music.

Below is our interview with Angela:

BLD:What was your first job?

AJ:  Articled clerk/trainee solicitor at Evans Butler Wade Solicitors in Greenwich, South London. Before then, Saturday girl at C&A’s, so that was really my first job.

BLD:Why did you choose a legal career?
AJ:  I had an early interest in public speaking at secondary school and thought I would be a confident lawyer.

BLD: If you were to choose another role/profession other than Law, what would it be and why?
AJ: I love African dance, so maybe something along the lines of teaching it, if I could guarantee a secure income! Otherwise, I would have loved to be a professional performer.

BLD:What was the best career advice you were given?
AJ:   From a postgraduate student who mentored me when I was doing A-levels. He advised me on colleges that I should apply to at Oxford University.  

BLD:What was the worst career advice you were given?
AJ: When I was 14, a negative careers officer told me that Law was very hard and seemed stunned that I was considering it, but I paid no attention to her.

BLD:What career advice would you give to others?
AJ: Be clear about the demands and challenges of the career you wish to follow, work out a strategy to meet those challenges and commit to it. Always put 100 per cent effort into everything and be aware that competition is tough. You must be really disciplined.

BLD:Who is the person you most admire (dead or alive) and why?
AJ: Nelson Mandela, for his strength, conviction and humanity. 

BLD:What are you most passionate/happiest about?
AJ: I am passionate about the quality of life for people living in the developing world, especially children. I have a sponsor child in Senegal and would like to meet her and her family one day. I am passionate about a number of aspects about Africa, including its music and dance which do make me very, very happy.

BLD:What are your dislikes?
AJ: Bigoted people who should not hold power. At the moment, my strongest dislike is for England's coalition government and I am really upset about what is happening to the people of Libya.

BLD:What was your worst moment as a lawyer?
AJ: Dealing with an understandably challenging young client who had cancer, in particular when she was very unhappy with some advice I provided to her.

BLD:Tell us about your professional high point(s).
AJ: Collecting my Outstanding Achievement award at the Silver Jubilee Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards in 2009. 

BLD:What was the most famous/interesting case(s) you handled?
AJ: Currently working on a very interesting school exclusion JR (judicial review) concerning unlawful exclusion of an African-Caribbean 11-year-old boy from secondary school on his first day  because he wore his hair in braids. We are pleading race and sex discrimination within the claim and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has intervened. 

BLD:Any professional regrets?
AJ:   I would have liked to have practised Children's Law at some point in the past. 

BLD:If you could rule the world for a day what would you change/do?
AJ:   I would end poverty and ensure everyone has a decent quality of life and is safe from harm.


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