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Message from Dr Bernard Andonian, Legal 500 Hall of Fame

It is a privilege to be inducted in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame as a leading individual.

There is no doubt that any law firm ranked by the Legal 500 in any tier for any specialism has achieved such a ranking on merit. That Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors has been ranked by the Legal 500 as a Top Tier, myself as a Leading Individual and now Hall of Famer is remarkable. The firm also has other Legal 500 Recommended individuals.

It is said that the Hall of Fame showcases individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence and highlights, to clients, those at the pinnacle of their profession. I am deeply humbled to receive such an accolade.

I look back on my career (now approaching 40 years) with a smile. I have been fortunate enough to be a legal practitioner who has helped thousands of vulnerable individuals as well as large businesses succeed in the ever-challenging area of Immigration, Human Rights and Asylum Law.

I have been honoured to sit as a Judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and being an impartial decision-maker has greatly assisted my development both as lawyer and as a person.

However, I am also conscious of the contribution of my colleagues throughout the years whose contribution has been immense. At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we are a niche firm with a ‘family' environment. Therefore, I view my induction as a shared achievement - a collective achievement and members of the firm are very much a part of that achievement.

The firm's current Managing Partner, Dave Vasoodaven, is an excellent asset to the firm. Despite his matured years, he is very energetic, full of ideas and his leadership, direction and dedication has ensured that the firm has grown to a new level altogether in terms of its scope and the complexity of cases which it handles.

Sajo Thomas, also a Partner, also has a valuable presence and handles complex litigation and property law matters.

There are others, of course. Fadi Farhat joined us in August 2015 and now handles the firm's advocacy as well as other complex matters. In all my years of experience, he is certainly one of the most exceptional lawyers that I have met. He is an "all-rounder" and another asset to the firm.

Jahed Morad and Henry Lau also work as immigration lawyers in our London law firm and I have witnessed their commendable commitment and knowledge for myself. They are remarkable lawyers in their own right with a proven track record.

There are, of course, many others to mention and it would not be possible mention everybody here. At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we have always worked as a team (both past and present) and those who have assisted me in my journey can all claim credit for this award.

In my current capacity as Head of Professional Development at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, I intend to continue to nurture the firm's lawyers and pass on my experience and knowledge.