Legal eagle helped reunite parents with children after social services intervention

Maryann Dimmer, from Parrot & Coales, and, below, her colleague Lorna Barry
Maryann Dimmer, from Parrot & Coales, and, below, her colleague Lorna Barry

A legal eagle who specialises in chidrens law and helped parents whose children had been wrongly taken away from them by social services has been shortlisted for a national award.

Maryann Dimmer, who works for Aylesbury law firm Parrott & Coales, has been nominated for the Paralegal of the Year award in the Family Law Awards.

Lorna Barry, from Parrot & Coales PNL-140725-153141001

Lorna Barry, from Parrot & Coales PNL-140725-153141001

Her colleague, Lorna Barry, is also a finalist for the Young Solicitor of the Year Award, making Parrot & Coales one of only three law firms across the country to have two nominees reach the finals.

Maryann started her career as a legal secretary and qualified as a paralegal in 1991, specialises in children law such as private law child proceedings, children in care, child abductions and adoptions, as well as domestic violence and the Forced Marriage Act.

Her handling of a number of cases were brought to light for the awards, including acting for parents so their children were returned to them after the local authority claimed that the children had suffered non-accidental injuries.

Lorna, who specialises in non-molestation/occupation orders, children, finance and divorce, was highlighted for representing a wife who divorced her husband of 23 years after he went to prison.

Her handling of this case, along with many others, was commended because of the difficulties it entailed such as the extensive media coverage on the husband’s crime and the negative impact this had on Lorna’s client and the children.

The pair were both recognised for their close links with the local division of Women’s Aid, the national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children.

Maryann’s contact with the Local Council Community Cohesion and Equalities representative was also seen as a strength as was Lorna’s relationship with the Thame Citizen’s Advice Bureau; connections which both ladies use to help their clients.

On being shortlisted for the awards, Maryann said: “We’re delighted to have made it to the finals.

“Family law is something we love as it gives us a chance to make a difference to people’s lives by helping them through difficult and traumatic times.

“This passion comes through in the work we do and the service we provide our clients, many of whom have stayed with the firm for so long that we are now representing their children.”

The winner of the Young Solicitor of the Year award will be selected by a panel of judges whilst the winner of the Paralegal of the Year category is now open to a public vote.

Votes can be cast via The winner will be announced on October 8 2014 at the Family Law Awards dinner in the Brewery in London.