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Firstly, where do you work and what is your role?
Partner and Head of the Injury and Negligence Division at Pannone. In the Division we have 170 lawyers and support staff working in the areas of serious injury, clinical negligence, court of protection and human rights. Personally, I specialise in acting for victims of child abuse.
Why did you choose a career in law?
I was inspired by our former senior partner, Rodger Pannone, who was in the news fighting for disaster victims almost every day when I was a law student. And by working as a paralegal for a public interest law firm in the USA.
What attracted you to your particular specialism?
The opportunity to secure redress and institutional accountability for vulnerable people who have been failed by big organisations. Getting justice for the client but also using that to push institutional change.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
My clients and my colleagues.
What particular challenges are you or have you faced in these tougher times?
PI has always been a highly competitive market especially in Manchester and the Jackson reforms present a challenge to all of us. But we have survived other challenges and this will be no different.
What do you think will be growth opportunities for the legal profession over the next couple of years?
The legal sector is tough at the moment and will remain so for some years – we are in an era of “climate change” in the profession as well as a stagnant economy. Within that, there will be many opportunities for those who are prepared to work differently and smarter. In an ever more interconnected world, there will be more litigation with an international element. And human rights is a continuously developing area.
What’s been your most enjoyable or high profile recent piece of work?
Acting for victims of the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rochdale; acting for victims of Jimmy Saville.
What inspires you when it comes to your work?
I am inspired by acting for vulnerable and disadvantaged clients and the role the legal profession can play in promoting a fairer and more equal society.
Do you work by a particular mantra or motto in your business life?
Nothing stays the same for very long so never rest on your laurels. Also be brave and tenacious – legal battles can be tough but with determination the law can be changed and with it, society.
Can you give one piece of professional advice to your peers?
Always think about how wider society perceives the profession. Personal injury law is an honourable profession but we lost sight of what society felt about it, and the Jackson reforms were the entirely predictable result.