The shortlist for the annual Law Society of England and Wales’ Legal Heroes award 2023 has been announced and it features nine prominent solicitors of South Asian heritage. .

A total of 26 shortlisted nominees are from a range of different practice areas and career backgrounds. The nominees have been shortlisted for making a lasting, tangible difference to society and bringing distinction to the profession.

A major takeaway is that lawyers from the South Asian community have been represented well making up 30% on the Legal Heroes award shortlist.

When it comes to the legal industry, as per numbers by The Law Society, 7% of the legal industry, come from South Asian heritage. Therefore, South Asians having a 30% space in a shortlist for a prestigious legal award is a major step towards representation.

President of the Law Society of England and Wales President Lubna Shuja herself is of South Asian heritage. On the announcement of the short list she said: “Congratulations to all our nominees.  It has been inspiring to read so many entries which all show the fantastic work done by many of our members.  They are a testament to the profession.

“Solicitors are vitally important in the justice system.  They provide valuable support and advice to people, businesses, and the government. It’s important that we take time to recognise and commend their hard work and achievements.

“We are proud to announce a shortlist of amazing solicitors who have consistently gone above and beyond to make a lasting impact on colleagues and communities.

“I look forward to announcing the winners and celebrating their outstanding contributions at the Legal Heroes reception in September.”

Lubana Kayani Associate at QCL Associates LLP Image: QCL Associates

The eight shortlisted nominees from the South Asian community are:

Lubana Kayani

Lubana holds the position of Associate at Queensbury, where she brings her expertise as an experienced Level 2 Accredited lawyer with a focus on Immigration and Civil Litigation

Her professional journey has encompassed advocating for clients across different Immigration Detention Centres located throughout the UK, as well as representing them in Immigration and Asylum Tribunals and County Court settings. Lubana adeptly manages a diverse caseload that includes professional individuals, clients facing high-risk situations, and those who are particularly vulnerable

Mohammed Zeb Image: Stuart Miller Solicitors

Mohammed Zeb

Mohammed is the managing director of Stuart Miller, Law firm based in North London. He commenced practice as a criminal lawyer almost 20 years ago. He has defended some of the most serious, complex, and high-profile cases of recent times.

Niresha Umaichelvam
Image: Niresha Linkedin

Niresha Umaichelvam

Niresha is a committee member of the Law Society’s Women’s Lawyers Division which promotes inclusion and diversity within the legal profession. Niresha has also attained her Civil Higher Rights of Audience allowing her to practice as a Solicitor-Advocate, offering her clients representation at Court.


Parvien Akhtar Image: Orrato Law

Parvien Akhtar

Parvien qualified as a solicitor in 1998 after completing her training contract in central London.

Parvien is the founding director of Bright Legal and set up her first law firm (Queen Solicitors) in 2002 which merged with a top 100 law firm in 2010. Parvien leads the firm’s Dispute Resolution team. She also has a strong client following in family law, commercial property, and conveyancing.

Qaiser Sheikh
Image: Coram Children’s aid centre

Qaisar Sheikh

Qaiser Sheikh leads the Education Law Team at Coram CLC, overseeing a team of 12-13 caseworkers spread across three office locations. He holds the responsibility for managing all aspects of the education practice operations. Qaiser is also actively engaged in business development efforts, focusing on legal aid tenders and the provision of private client services. Notably, he spearheaded the recent expansion of the Legal Practice in Leeds.

Being an integral part of the Coram Management Group, Qaiser collaborates with key service managers from various group organizations to formulate collective strategies and enhance overall cohesion. His involvement extends to attending board meetings alongside fellow senior managers, contributing her insights and expertise to crucial decision-making processes

Reena Parmar
Image: Freshfields Bruckhaus

Reena Parmar

Reena Parmar is Counsel within the Global transactions practice, specialising in debt capital market transactions.

Reena’s role includes analysing law and regulation and ensuring that the firm is at the forefront of developments in debt capital market law and practice. She has broad experience of investment grade debt capital market transactions across a range of products and has worked with a variety of issuer-side and underwriter-side clients. Reena is active in various industry associations and is widely recognised for her technical expertise and pragmatic approach.

Sabeen Pirooz Image: Thompson Solicitors

Sabeena Pirooz

With over 16 years of experience in injury and litigation matters, Sabeena Pirooz has developed an extensive background in handling clinical negligence and complex injury cases. She is widely recognized for her hands-on approach and the establishment of strong, trustworthy relationships with experts and barristers. Her reputation is built upon her meticulous case investigations and the preparation of robust evidentiary support for her clients.

Sabeena’s expertise spans a diverse range of cases, extending up to and including Trial, including the High Court. Her experience covers various areas, such as fatal cases, birth injuries, cauda equina, orthopaedic claims, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, infection, and gynaecological issues.

Shabina Begum
Image: Dawson Cornwell

Shabina Begum

Shabina is a UN recognised authority on child, early and forced marriage. She is an expert in domestic violence, honour-based violence, forced marriage, stranded spouse and female genital mutilation cases; and additionally has specialism in children disputes, divorce, and financial orders with expertise in Shariah law; both family law and Islamic financing. She has worked as an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate handling high risk cases and extremely vulnerable clients.

Naga Kandiah
Image: MTC

Naga Kandiah 

Naga Kandiah, born in Jaffna, Ceylon, is currently a Consultant Solicitor. His diverse background initiated having worked within the banking sector during which time he carried out voluntary work at both the CAB and Rotary Club. It was at this moment, Naga enriched his passion overtime to become a public law and human rights figure, where he was able to offer valuable support and provide a helping hand to as many of those in need to make a positive difference.

Throughout Naga’s career and work, he continued to reflect great professionalism, integrity and qualities, providing exceptional duty of care to his clients.