Leigh Day has an enviable and unrivalled reputation for assisting those most vulnerable in society, who without legal representation would otherwise struggle to gain access to justice. This ethos is what attracted me to apply to them back in 2012 upon completing my LPC.
Following an interview, I was offered a role as a Clinical Negligence paralegal working for Sally Jean Nicholes, and had no hesitation whatsoever in making the decision to relocate to London from my home town of Bristol. Although the move was daunting, and the first few months represented the steepest of learning curves, the experience I gained during my two years as a Clinical Negligence paralegal were invaluable, providing me with an excellent grounding across a wide range of legal processes and procedures, and equally importantly giving me an insight into the type of company Leigh Day are to work for.
I was hugely impressed with the support and guidance I was given during those two years, and by the manner in which teams worked collaboratively for the common good of clients. The culture at Leigh Day is very much one which recognises the vital role that staff play at all levels in securing successful client outcomes, and as such I was always made to feel a valuable and essential part of the team, despite being the most junior member. My positive insight into the way Leigh Day operated and respected its staff underpinned my application for a training position and I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to commence my Training Contract in September 2014.
My first seat was in the Product Liability department, where I assisted Jill Paterson. I was made to feel part of the team straight away and was given the opportunity to assist on a wide variety of consumer claims, ranging from defective medical devices through to faulty household appliances. The assortment of work I was provided with really kept me on my toes throughout the year, and the level of responsibility that was entrusted to me made me feel as if I was adding real value to the team. I was given close contact with clients on a daily basis and assisted in drafting a wide range of complex legal documents.
The highlight of my first year was attending the conclusion of a three week long inquest, in which Leigh Day represented the family of a father who had died as a result of a fire caused by a faulty household appliance. In concluding the inquest, the Coroner recommended a number of measures to prevent further deaths, which will have a widespread impact on the way in which household appliances are sold and regulated in the UK in the future. I was proud to have played a supporting role to a professional team, who had managed to secure an outcome that will undoubtedly save lives in the future.
I am currently undertaking my second year seat in the Clinical Negligence department, where I am assisting Suzanne White. The Clinical Negligence department acts for individuals who have suffered serious injuries as a result of medical negligence. My role involves assisting on a varied caseload, which includes birth injury claims, orthopaedic claims, ophthalmic claims and claims as a result of a delay in diagnosis of cancer. I have also provided assistance to families preparing for inquests.
The work can be extremely challenging, as you not only require a thorough understanding of the application of the law, you also need to be able to understand the medical aspects of the case, and how the two interact which makes obtaining tangible results for our clients all the more gratifying. It’s also quite rewarding on a personal level to be able to put to use some of the knowledge gained whilst studying for my degree in medical sciences.
What gratifies me most about working for Leigh Day is the belief that even as a Trainee I am given enough responsibility to feel that I can make a real difference to a case. Whilst support and guidance is always close at hand from experienced partners, so is trust in my ability to get on with the job without too much hand holding. There is also an active social side to the company, which gives Trainees plenty of opportunity to mix with staff from across the organisation. Whilst there are always going to be occasions when workloads peak and the need arises to work longer hours, the work/life balance is generally pretty good and leaves me ample time to indulge in my passion of supporting Liverpool FC.