Interview with Soyab Patel, Partner at The Specter Partnership Solicitors
What is your role?
I am a Partner and Solicitor Advocate at The Specter Partnership and in the main I deal with personal injury claims involving catastrophic injuries or where there is a degree of complexity involved in the case. Professional/clinical negligence cases also feature in my workload as does private client work from business disputes through to employment matters.
Why did you become a Solicitor?
This may sound a bit geeky but I really enjoy the law. I did A Level Law at college and was hooked!
Where is the best place to go if you want to find out what is really going on in the office?
The kitchen or by the photocopying machine.
What is the best thing about your job?
Undoubtedly helping people and finding solutions to problems. Thinking outside the box and coming up with a novel way to deal with a problem is the most rewarding aspect of my job.
What is the toughest thing about your job?
Having to advise the family of a fatal accident victim that in the absence of a recognised class of individual that would be able to bring a claim for bereavement damages, what can be recovered is essentially limited to funeral expenses. The position is exacerbated by the fact that the system in Scotland is much fairer to relatives.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
There are two, my former principals Terry McGraw and Robert Fletcher. Both through their wisdom, knowledge and guidance have had the biggest influence upon my legal career.
What’s the most interesting case you have dealt with?
The Grayrigg train derailment. I was able to draw upon knowledge and experience that I had acquired before becoming a solicitor. I dealt with the only fatality arising out of the incident and a number of serious personal injury claims. This was followed by the inquest which received national coverage as well as the subsequent prosecution of Network Rail resulting in the company receiving a record fine.
What has been the greatest achievement in your profession to date?
Probably securing the acquittal of a financial advisor accused of forgery/theft. After a 2 week trial there had to be a re-trial due to the contamination of evidence on the part of the Police. After a second trial lasting 3 weeks, my client was acquitted of all 28 counts on the indictment. However, the media coverage in relation to the Grayrigg train derailment and being interviewed live on Radio 4’s PM by Eddie Mair is a very close second!
Where do you see your firm in 5 to 10 years? What are the biggest challenges you will face?
It is difficult to say where the firm will be in 5 to 10 years but I am sure the challenges that we all face in the profession over the next 12 months will be tackled by the practice with the vigour and fortitude that will be required.
Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?
A difficult one as there are so many but perhaps one that springs to mind is Michael Moore if only because he is not one to shy away from putting his head above the parapet!
What would you have been if you weren’t a lawyer?
What would you advise lawyers beginning their legal career today?
Make yourself indispensable-knowledge is the key.
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