To the Rescue

London lawyer plugs gap in legal aid

Peer-jada Qureshi, a trained barrister and, until recently, a practicing City lawyer, is in the process of launching his own legal consultancy following a year of mentoring through the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme.

Based in Winchester and London, the new consultancy, Court and Tribunal Solutions, will in part support clients who are either unable to afford solicitors or want a quick and practical outcome to legal problems. Peer-jada’s business vision is to save all his clients time, money and stress through the adoption of a solution-focused and collaborative approach to solving legal issues.

Since 2013, access to civil legal aid has fallen by more than 50% and access to criminal legal aid is expected to suffer similar setbacks. Social welfare and family law have been most affected with drops of between 60% and 80%.

FROM TOP OF THE LADDER TO SQUARE ONE

Peer-jada has always been committed to the idea of affordable and competent professional advice for people faced with legal issues that impact their lives.  Even when working at prestigious London lawyers Slaughter and May, one of the UK’s top five commercial law firms, he found time to help out on serious cases at the Citizens Advice Bureaux.

So when the opportunity arose to start his own consultancy, offering his own brand of affordable and practical help was an essential part of his business plan.  But to realise his vision, Peer-jada had to give up his long-standing work in the City, and start again from scratch. Finding some established professional support, both financial and advisory, was essential if he were to succeed.

To learn more about the services Court & Tribunal Solutions offer, and to view the videos explaining this, please visit: www.courtandtribunalsolutions.co.uk.

Given my background, it made perfect sense to use my training and skills to help people resolve legal issues quickly and practically, through a credible business. The legal aid cuts in 2013 and clients increasingly reporting they wanted a credible alternative to law firms, clinched it.

Peer-Jada Qureshi, Mentee, Director, Court & Tribunal Solutions Footnote1

GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT

Peer-jada contacted the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Winchester and London for some initial advice. After going through a ‘dragon’s den’ style application process, he was told that he was an ideal candidate for the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme. As a start-up business with a focus on tackling a social issue, Court and Tribunal Solutions would be eligible for a fully funded place on a 14-day course, a £4,000 grant and a mentor from Lloyds Bank.

The course was spread over 12 months to allow Peer-jada to get his business up and running and lifted the lid on the key challenges of starting a social enterprise.  He was also introduced to his mentor, Jonathan Allright, Managing Director of Agriculture Mortgage Corporation, part of Lloyds Banking Group, and a huge enthusiast for business start-ups.

The Lloyds SSE programme offered a triple combination of an MBA-style business programme, seed funding of £4,000 and a business mentor to guide and support. That convinced me that Lloyds were as seriously committed as I was to revitalizing the economy and giving something back to the community. I’m sure my fellow entrepreneurs will attest to the brilliant hard work put in by SSE programme managers and Lloyds mentors to get us to this point.

Peer-Jada Qureshi, Mentee, Director, Court & Tribunal Solutions

A REWARDING BUSINESS

Jonathan Allright explained: “Over the year I worked together with Peer-jada to sharpen his business plan, and help him identify specific targets and financials. The practice will focus on family, employment and immigration law with an 80%/20% split between fee paying and legal aid work.

“I have benefited hugely from being a mentor. The whole experience has been exciting and humbling. Seeing someone with so much give it all up to start up a business which has a social impact is both incredibly brave and great to be a part of.

“It has been a privilege to be allowed to listen to Peer-jada’s ideas and thoughts for the last 12 months. From day one when I put him in touch with some marketing contacts, to helping sharpen up possible target clients, right through to contributing to the new website, my role has been to listen, champion, encourage and constructively critique his approach to starting up his business.”

I truly respect Jonathan for giving up his time in a professional and really searching way, and he has a great sense of humour that helps lighten the load. The fact that CTS overcame Companies House’s name rejection, sorted out effective marketing and refined our ways of working, means that we can offer high quality professional services to people in real need of help. That is testament in large part to Jonathan’s first class support and experience – my definition of a mentor. So I’m very honored that he has agreed to remain as one of three professionals, advising CTS on the way forwards.

Peer-Jada Qureshi, Mentee, Director, Court & Tribunal Solutions

A REWARDING BUSINESS

HELPING BUSINESSES TO SUCCEED

Lloyds Banking Group has been a key supporter of the School for Social Entrepreneurs since 2012, empowering people from all backgrounds to create positive social change.

The creation of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme gives individuals and businesses the best possible chance of success by providing access to expert mentoring, training and funding.

To date the programme has supported 820 social entrepreneurs, and through them helped economic growth and regeneration in the UK. It’s a key part of our commitment to help Britain prosper.

Read more about our commitment to Helping Britain prosper here.