The Access to Justice Foundation has announced the appointment of Laurence Harris as Chairman of its Board of Trustees. He will take over from out-going Chair, Lord Goldsmith QC, who will step down at the end of 2020 after 12 years.

Laurence Harris is currently a partner at international law firm Cooley LLP and is vice chair of its global litigation department. He is a solicitor who has practiced in the area of commercial litigation all his career.  He advises Governments, large corporates and high net worth individuals in complex commercial disputes. He was one of the founder partners of the London office of Cooley when it was launched in January 2015. Prior to joining Cooley, he had been Managing Partner of a UK law firm, and then Deputy Managing Partner of a large US law firm.  He is a solicitor-advocate. He has been a Trustee of the Foundation since 2012.

Mr Harris will be leading the Foundation at a crucial time for the charity, as it focuses its fundraising efforts on the Community Justice Fund, a joint initiative to help specialist social welfare legal advice organisations cope with the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lay the foundations for longer-term renewal.

Lord Goldsmith QC, who has been with the charity since it was established in 2008, will continue to support the Foundation’s work in the newly created role of President.

Commenting on the appointment, CEO of The Access to Justice Foundation, Ruth Daniel, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Laurence as our new Chair. This is an extremely challenging time for the legal advice sector, therefore Laurence’s knowledge, experience and leadership will be invaluable as we continue to manage the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I would also like to thank Lord Goldsmith QC for his immeasurable support and dedication over the past 12 years. He has been Chairman of the Foundation since it was first established and we are thrilled that he will continue to work with us as President of the Foundation.”

Laurence Harris, said: “I am honoured and delighted to be succeeding Peter Goldsmith as chairman of the Foundation. He will be a very difficult act to follow; but at this critical time for the advice sector, I am hugely excited to be able to help lead the Foundation in its work, which, in these uncertain times, is more important than ever”.