Congratulations to my friend Robert Dougans on being shortlisted for The Lawyer's Assistant Solicitor of the Year for his sterling work on Simon Singh's case.
As solicitor, Robert was responsible for the overall conduct of the case, including obtaining permission to appeal and the appeal itself. He is an "assistant solicitor" which means that he is not even a partner at his law firm.
I first met Robert when he was a trainee and I was his supervisor at the Herbert Smith pro bono free legal advice centre in the east end of London. He then went off and worked at Carter-Ruck, where he learned his defamation law and procedure. However, that firm did not suit him at all, and so he left to join the London office of the US firm Bryan Cave, where he would be free to build up his own practice, including acting for libel defendants.
When Simon Singh asked me to recommend someone to act for him two years ago I immediately thought of Robert. Not only was Robert an attendee of London Skeptics in the Pub, he also cares for the free discussion of ideas and has an "Atlanticist" commitment to free speech. And he knows his libel law.
So well done, Robert. You greatly deserve this shortlisting.
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