During its 22 years of operation, Bury St Edmunds based SEN Legal has established itself as a national and highly specialised legal practice with a strong reputation.
Its expertise in education law - particularly in the field of Special Educational Needs and Disability for children and young people aged under 25 - has not gone unnoticed in more recent times, with 2021 seeing the firm nominated for a British Legal Award and included in the Legal 500. All of this comes in spite of the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic over the previous two years.
The origins of the firm and its successes lie in very personal experiences. SEN Legal founder, Melinda Nettleton, worked as a Senior Crown Prosecutor for 18 years before establishing the practice in 1999. Her decision to build it came in response to her having to obtain a Statement of Special Educational Needs for her own son.
Thanks to her child having secured the educational support that he needed after the Statement had been acquired, he went on to obtain First Class Honours at university.
With this having firmly demonstrated what those with Special Education Needs can accomplish with the appropriate support, Nettleton has been empowered to ensure that everyone in need of such support can access it.
SEN Legal is rather unique given that it operates exclusively in its area of expertise. It is one of the only law firms to provide legal advice solely in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disability, with its dedicated team ensuring that every child or young person has the right to the education that they deserve.
As Nettleton herself puts it: “At SEN Legal we are approachable, client-focused and supportive. We offer a sympathetic understanding to families who feel they have been let down by their local authority. We offer an extremely committed, family-friendly approach to our work.
“While we are proud of our reputation for robust representation for our clients, SEN Legal’s main aim is that every child or young person has a right to an education and the provision of therapeutic and/or Social Services input irrespective of means.”
The firm is also having an incredible impact in its field and succeeding in its mission. SEN Legal has managed to maintain a consistent success rate of over 90 per cent for the last decade, while it boasted a 98 per cent success rate in 2020 having managed over 200 different cases.
These recent exploits have brought about due recognition from the wider industry, with SEN Legal being named in the 2021 Legal 500 and taking pride of place among the most cutting edge and innovative law firms in the country. It was also nominated for the UK Law Firm of the Year 2021 accolade at the British Legal Awards, losing out to eventual winners Osborne Clarke.
Nevertheless, for a legal practice dealing in one specialist area of the law and managing a national client base across England and Wales, these achievements should not be understated. Indeed, SEN Legal’s entry in the Legal 500 describes the firm as the “best EHC Plan lawyers” and pays tribute to Nettleton as a highly knowledgeable “trailblazer” in her field of SEN law. Her colleague, fellow Director and Senior Solicitor Hayley Mason, is described as “bright” and “super-organised” and “exuding confidence in her work”, acting on behalf of parents to resolve complex issues and secure the appropriate special educational provisions for the children and young people that need them.
Looking back on a memorable year, a delighted Mason commented: “We are proud to represent our families and schools with a 98 per cent success rate and are delighted to be ranked in the 2021 Legal 500 and to have been named among the nominees for UK Law Firm of the Year at the British Legal Awards. Thank you to all our wonderful clients for their kind testimonials and for continuing to place your trust in us.”
Everybody at The Leaders Council would like to directly congratulate SEN Legal on a fantastic year, and we are certain you will continue raising the bar in 2022 and beyond.
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash