Having spent ten rather wonderful and exciting years as Director of AvMA(Action for Victims of Medical Accidents), the national clinical negligence charity, and overseen the launch of their annual lawyers Conferences, it was with great horror that I recently attended the dinner at their 26th annual Conference. Not horror at the post Jackson, post Mitchell Clinical Negligence landscape, not even horror at watching the Head of Clin Neg at a national practice attempting to dance the samba( I will spare their blushes and not name them, although the firm rhymes with Roosmiths!). No, it was the horror that 26 years have passed since that inaugural gathering of clinical negligence lawyers a time during which the whole specialism of clinical negligence grew very rapidly and became firmly established as a legal sector in it’s own right.
When I first started at AvMA( moving from the ‘dark side’ as a young Defendant lawyer), Clinical Negligence was one man, one woman and their dog. Over the last 30 years it has grown into a powerful group for change in the healthcare sector as well as a focal point for all claimant solicitors in this work, throughout the country. They have assisted countless thousands of patients who have been injured in some way through the process and the lawyers who are members have recovred many millions of pounds of necessary compensation for them. Worthwhile supporting if you do encounter the occasional fundraising efforts of claimant clinical negligence solicitors.
Travelling down from my usual base in London to the whoopy by the sea of Brighton, it is always fun to see four hundred lawyers debate the market in between ice cream breaks. At the dinner, I was lucky to be sat between two very splendid dinner partners who happened to represent each end of the career spectrum. One on side I had a very wonderful and sparky newly qualified, who I was able to assist in the search for a new role( who had, rather refreshingly been referred to me by her firms HR department as there wasn’t a place for her within clin neg). She fully epitomised the very hard working, studious and very focused young lawyer who has been through the lengthy baptism of pro bono, paralegal and training contract. Still enthusiastic and keen to forge a career within clinical negligence, the one area that still fires her passions.
On the other side at dinner, was a very charming and erudite Partner and Head of Department at a practice in the south west( interestingly he had been born, lived and worked in the same area for all of his life!). Having just moved with his entire team, he still had a passion for this work, still felt that what he could do for his clients was life changing and worthwhile
In my role as a specialist in the insurance sector in London and with a keen eye on the clinical negligence sector, it is always a joy to be able to assist practitioners at every stage of their career from paralegal to Partner( and with BCL Grads up and thriving, even earlier!)
For more information please visit our website BCL Legal.