Birmingham Law Society has appointed what is believed to be its youngest president in the association's 200-year history.

For her tenure, 34-year-old Linden Thomas has pledged to support access to justice for the thousands of people across the region who cannot afford legal representation.

Ms Thomas is also only the sixth woman to take on the role of the society which was founded in 1818 and represents more than 5,000 legal professionals across Birmingham and the wider West Midlands.

Originally an employment lawyer for what was then SGH Martineau, Ms Thomas now combines her professional expertise with an academic interest in legal practice as a lecturer, in-house solicitor and manager of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research at University of Birmingham.

Through pro bono work, she said she had seen first hand how local and national cuts to the courts, legal aid system and charity advice sector had led to thousands of people across the region struggling to access fair, affordable legal advice and representation.

 

As president of the law society, Ms Thomas will lead its members in supporting two local charities which facilitate access to justice  - Citizens Advice Birmingham and the Central England Law Centre.

She said: "While there is an active and thriving legal community here in Birmingham and the wider Midlands, many people in the region lack the resources to access it.

"This means that people can find themselves with nowhere to turn when they need professional advice and support.

"Citizens Advice Birmingham and the Central England Law Centre both provide vital services to plug this gap, yet there is very little funding to support their work.

"By raising funds and providing a wider platform for these fantastic organisations, Birmingham Law Society can help ensure that people in the Midlands are able to access fair, affordable legal advice when they need it."

Ms Thomas was previously president of the Birmingham Trainee Solicitors Society and in 2011 won trainee solicitor of the year at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.