Clients are deserting the law firm which mocked the parents of disabled children.
On Saturday evening, Baker Small posted a series of extraordinary tweets crowing that it had defeated parents of disabled children who had appealed to a tribunal to get their local council to provide their kids with funded specialist care. The firm's mockery, which included posting a picture of a laughing kitten, provoked widespread fury. National papers picked up the story after RollOnFriday reported it, with legendary paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson commenting with incredulity on the RoF article:
Now, Baker Small is losing the very local authority clients which led to its myopic boasts.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Lorna Dupré has said that the firm was paid at least £144,000 by her council between May 2015 and January 2016. But today it has announced that it will not be referring any new cases to Baker Small.
In a statement, Cambridgeshire County Council said that it had "decided to set up alternative arrangements for new cases". Adrian Loades, Executive Director for Children, Families and Adults, said, “We can confirm that we will no longer be using Baker Small for new cases. We recognise the damage that these tweets have done to parental confidence and by extension to the potential relationship between the County Council and parents".
Even though CCC is one of the local authorities which have been fighting parents, it is unsurprisingly unhappy at the manner in which Baker Small has depicted the battle, with Loades at pains to emphasise that while “there can be different views between parents and the Local Authority" in respect of support to the disabled children (i.e. you want it, we're not giving it), "we always work hard to avoid this relationship becoming adversarial if at all possible." So not this then:
Loades said that despite the firing, there may be a continuing (and presumably excuciatingly awkward) relationship between the council and Baker Small in respect of cases already underway. He said they “will be reviewed on a case by case basis", and that "in some instances it may be better for the all parties that Baker Small retain the case in order to avoid delay or disruption to decision making”.
Read the full story on Friday.