7/6/2019 by Joseph Shenton
In response to the upcoming reforms associated with the Civil Liability Bill, many law firms working within the personal injury sector have, in recent years, re-evaluated their business strategy and plans for future growth.
While some practices have decided to build up their EL/PL teams, others have made the strategic decision to focus on more complex claims, such as those involving spinal or brain injuries. In turn, this has led to these firms taking on more solicitors with experience in dealing with these kinds of cases.
At Realm, I work with a number of specialist firms across Manchester, Cheshire and the wider North West. Over the last 6 months, I’ve seen a number of firms continuously recruiting in this area and an influx of opportunities for ambitious catastrophic injury solicitors looking to take their next step.
The benefits of working in catastrophic injury
Other than the fact that there is a growing demand for solicitors in this area, there are a number of reasons why serious injury is recognised as an attractive niche of personal injury.
Interesting and varied work
First of all, compared with other personal injury claims, the kinds of cases catastrophic departments deal with are often more interesting. Work can also be varied, with catastrophic claims involving accidents ranging from serious road accidents and assaults to accidents at work.
Solicitors working within this area help clients who are dealing with traumatic, life-changing injuries. Working with these individuals and their families is extremely rewarding, as solicitors work towards achieving a compensation settlement that can, in many cases, transform an individual’s life.
Some of the firms we work with at Realm are on the Headway panel of solicitors, while others have a similar arrangement with spinal injury charities such as the SIA or Back Up Trust. Partnerships with such organisations mean that lawyers at these firms have access to a consistent flow of good quality head, brain and spinal injury cases.
Interaction with clients
Catastrophic caseloads tend to be smaller but require a higher level of client contact care. As practices have strengthened their catastrophic injury departments, client care and support has undoubtedly become more important.
Because cases are so complex, they can often last for a number of years, so solicitors get to know their clients well. As they have often sustained life-changing injuries, solicitors must be sensitive to the wants and needs of their client and their families. Soft skills such as empathy and understanding are critical as solicitors help clients during a devastating time of their lives.
Perhaps because of the nature of the work involved in catastrophic injury cases (visiting clients, meeting with experts and barristers, for example), firms that employ catastrophic injury solicitors are often pragmatic when it comes to working hours, and flexible working.
Caseloads can often be emotionally gruelling, so having that flexibility gives solicitors some respite and helps them to juggle their jobs with their family and other personal commitments.
There are some opportunities for solicitors looking to re-specialise
It’s not just solicitors who are well-versed in handling serious injury cases who can land roles within catastrophic injury teams. Some firms are open to considering multi-track solicitors who might not regularly deal with high-value claims but have experience in helping clients post-settlement with rehabilitation, house adaptions and treatment.
When applying for these roles, it’s important that you are able to demonstrate the value you bring in terms of experience in handling more complex multi-track claims and securing significant settlements for clients. However, those who demonstrate the soft skills mentioned above and who are willing to go the extra mile for their clients will also stand out a prospective employer.
Predominantly, firms are looking to take on talented solicitors with experience in this area of personal injury, but there are also some roles on offer for paralegals looking to gain experience working on these complex cases. Often, and particularly in smaller practices, catastrophic injury paralegals work closely with partners or senior solicitors, so the experience they can gain at an early stage of their career is invaluable, putting them in good stead for a successful career in catastrophic injury.
Thinking about taking your next step?
To learn more about the market or our current catastrophic injury solicitor vacancies, please feel free to get in touch for a confidential conversation or explore our latest roles. Call Joseph Shenton on 03300 245 606 or email email@example.com.