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Interview with Kevin Johnson, Partner, John Pickering and Partners LLP

Q Kevin, what is your role at the firm?

A. I am a partner in our Liverpool office. I specialise in industrial disease and particularly asbestos disease claims. I also have responsibilities for practice development, including the expansion of our clinical negligence department in Liverpool.

Q What has been your proudest professional moment?

A. My firm’s involvement in winning the Fairchild appeals. This was a test case that went to the House of Lords involving 3 actions where we acted for 2 of the claimants. The insurance industry was trying to block all compensation claims for mesothelioma victims. Just a few days before the hearing, after several months of waiting for the appeals to be heard, the insurers made full value offers to our clients to settle their appeals and preserve the advantageous Court of Appeal judgment. One of our clients, a local lady, took a principled stand and refused the substantial offer so the court hearing could proceed and that others might benefit. It was an amazing act of selflessness.

Q What is the best thing about your job?

A. The clients we act for. If there is such a thing as a “compensation culture” then they are the antithesis of it. They all say the same, that they would trade any amount of compensation to have their health back. They bear the most awful illnesses with great fortitude and dignity. Trying to recover damages quickly for terminally ill clients is one of the core objectives of our firm. I get real satisfaction whenever this is possible.

Q What impact has the current economy had on John Pickering and Partners LLP as a whole?

A. The downturn obviously impacts on us in the same way that it does for all other businesses. However, as we specialise in personal injury claims, we haven’t noticed a downturn in our instructions. We are in fact increasing the services that we offer to local clients by taking on a new clinical negligence solicitor called Rachel Donovan to work in our Liverpool office.

Q What would you have been if you weren’t a lawyer?

A. Without doubt, a free scoring centre forward for Everton FC.

Q Why did you want to become a solicitor?

A. I started doing a law degree because I was unsure about my career path. I thought law was a degree that would be well thought of by prospective employers, with the possibility of taking a vocational route if I found it of interest. I enjoyed several subjects and spent some time doing hands-on work in a university law clinic.

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