November 13, 2019

Cayman Islands: Chapmans attorney named Lee A. Freeman recipient

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GRAND CAYMAN (GIS) – Specialist family attorney, Hayley McCall is the ’s () 2018 Lee A. Freeman recipient. The award, for “selfless acts of time and dedication to the Legal Befrienders’ Programme,” is named after one of the service’s staunchest volunteers and has been presented annually since 2011.

A Legal Befrienders’ volunteer with the service since shortly after arriving on Grand Cayman in 2016, Ms McCall was presented with the accolade on Wednesday, 8 February 2019.

“I feel honoured to receive such an award,” she said, following a small ceremony at the FRC’s new third floor offices in Walker’s House on Mary Street. “As was once famously said, we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. Legal Befrienders provides an incredible service to the community and I am delighted to be able to help those in need.”

“I think that it’s incredibly important for everyone to dedicate some of their time to volunteering, and I have always made sure to consistently volunteer in some capacity throughout my working career,” the Chapmans attorney says.

Minister for Health Hon Dwayne Seymour said: “I want to congratulate Ms McCall for this recognition; it also highlights the importance of community involvement in the Family Resource Centre.”

FRC Programme Coordinator Charmaine Miller-Brown mentions that the award is a tangible token of her agency’s gratitude for the important work the volunteers provide. “We appreciate that many of our volunteers like Hayley, work extremely long hours and have complex and demanding jobs. That is why it is so important for us to acknowledge the continuing dedication of those who commit wholeheartedly to the Legal Befrienders’ programme.”

Ms McCall’s work at Legal Befrienders mainly involves giving free advice on family law matters including contact, residence, child maintenance, relocation, domestic violence and general civil litigation.

The Scottish lawyer relishes her pro bono work, which often yields positive outcomes, like when she recently advised a domestic violence survivor. “After making my client aware of all of the options available to her to seek protection from her ex-partner, and make applications for financial support for her and her children, she left with the biggest smile on her face and looked like she could take on the world,” she says.

Legal Befrienders currently has 10 attorney-volunteers and is keen to attract more. Ms McCall says the service welcomes lawyers regardless of their specialisms, as people using the programme come with a range of issues.

“With growing numbers of people accessing the service, there’s an ever-increasing need, which calls for more lawyers volunteering their time for this much-needed service,” she adds.

FRC’s Legal Befrienders staff, , says that there are no set number of hours volunteers must work, and that even offering a couple of hours a month would make a big difference. “We have been fortunate to have a committed set of volunteers who consistently offer their time to provide legal advice. However, it would be far more beneficial to increase our number of volunteers providing the service weekly to ensure we are meeting the needs of our clients,” she says.

The Legal Befrienders’ service provides free legal advice to individuals with various legal concerns. The service’s walk-in clinic is open Tuesdays from 5-6.30 p.m. and its phone line (945-8869) is open Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m. For more information about FRC’s events and programmes, call 949-0006.

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