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Profile of the week

Mark Gilmartin

Position

I joined Wilsons Family in 2008 as a Barrister and cross-qualified as a solicitor in 2012. I now practice exclusively in Children and Family law and specialise in complex Financial Remedy matters on divorce or separation.  I am also one of the firm’s in house advocates and attend court on a frequent basis to represent clients in all types of Family proceedings.

Your Week

Last week I organised the Wilsons Team for the London Legal Walk. We had 20 walkers from across all the departments in the firm and some friends and family too! The London Legal Walk raises money so the poorest and most vulnerable in our community are able to access justice. It started in 2005 with just 330 walkers and has increased to over 8000 walkers this year.

Access to justice is incredibly important to Wilsons. The firm has supported the walk for over 3 years. As a practising advocate I know how important it is to have a voice. I am able to speak for my client and make sure their voice is heard by the courts. For example in the same week as the London legal walk, I represented a young mother in Care proceedings who suffers from a long standing history of mental health problems. I was able to help the mother understand the complex legal issues in her case and to advocate her position in proceedings to ensure that she continues to share a loving long term relationship with her children. Without continued support to fund legal services, parents such as this run the risk of attending similar court hearings and not being able to properly present or understand their case. This of course could have terrible long term results for a family’s future.

It was a sunny evening for our 10k walk with beautiful sights of London.  We started at the Royal Courts of Justice and ended our walk back there for a street party. There was a large turnout from all sections of the legal community.

I would like to thank everyone who sponsored the Wilsons London Legal Walk team and to all the walkers. Collectively all 515 teams entering the legal walk managed to raise over £500,000 to support the London Legal Support Trust.

Challenges

I represent clients in both private and legal aid matters and understand the difficulty clients face in funding their cases. Legal aid is being cut all the time.  It is important that those in all areas of law pull together so that everyone has access to justice regardless of their situation.

The Future

We have so far raised £1,116 for legal charities. I look forward to the legal walk next year and raising even more money with more walkers.

In the mean time I shall continue to do my best to achieve the best possible results for my clients.

The Wilsons Team will be running the Hackney Half Marathon on 22nd June 2014 and the 5k City Race on 10th July 2014 to fundraise further funds for charities that share our ethos in ‘justice for all’ . I myself will be attempting the Berlin Marathon in September 2014  – wish me luck!