1. Firstly, where do you work and what is your role?
Following our acquisition by Slater Gordon, I am National Serious Injury Manager for Slater Gordon, coordinating catastrophic injury and disease work nationally. I am also head of Slater & Gordon’s Abuse Cases team.
2. Why did you choose a career in law?
To help redress the balance: I have only ever wanted to act for vulnerable people who need someone to fight for them. I was never going to be a corporate lawyer.
3. What attracted you to your particular specialism?
The same reason. I wanted to use my legal skills to help the people who need it most.
4. What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Clients and colleagues. I represent and work with some fantastic people. The intellectual challenges of law and business are good too, but will always be secondary to that.
5. What particular challenges are you or have you faced over the past couple of years?
The market has been undergoing dramatic change over the past 2-3 years. At Pannone we decided that by joining forces with Slater & Gordon, we could achieve our ambition to deliver exceptional and affordable legal services to people nationwide. It has been a big change, but most definitely the right one.
6. What do you think will be growth opportunities for the legal profession moving forward?
There will be growth opportunities for anyone who is genuinely prepared to put the client at the centre of what they do (as opposed to paying lip service to this as lawyers sometimes did in the past); who is prepared to embrace new technology; and who is prepared to gear work differently. The days of people paying lawyers lots of money to make simple things more complicated are long gone, but there will always be a need for lawyers so growth is there if we adapt. There will be more international litigation as we live in an ever more interconnected world.
7. What’s been your most enjoyable or high profile recent piece of work?
Acting for victims of the sexual exploitation / grooming scandal in Rochdale. Very vulnerable clients who were grievously failed by those in authority and have needed and deserved the very best legal advice.
8. What inspires you when it comes to your work?
Most of all I want our clients to feel that we have done right by them; fought hard for them; and acted with integrity. We cannot always guarantee outcomes (although we win most of the time!) but we will always do our best.
9. Do you work by a particular mantra or motto in your business life?
At university I studied economic history and its key lesson is that nothing stays the same for very long- things can look immutable but change is always around the corner, and never more so than now. So never rest of your laurels. If you do, there will always be someone willing to work harder and take your place!
10. Can you give one piece of professional advice to your peers?
Always think about what is going on in wider society, and be alive to how lawyers are perceived. Some personal injury lawyers lost sight of what society started to feel about them, and the Jackson reforms were the entirely predictable result. By all means focus on the law, but never lose sight of the bigger picture.