Who? Samantha Silver, partner, Kennedys, London
Why is she in the news? Represented manufacturer DePuy, which a High Court judge ruled was not liable to the 312 patients who claimed they had been injured by what they alleged were ‘defective’ hip implants.
Thoughts on the case: ‘The common-sense approach the court has taken will mean that companies should not be unfairly penalised for developing new technologies which have the potential to improve lives, if those new products perform as well as or better than what came before. The legal test is one of objective expectation of safety, acknowledging that in respect of medical devices, not all products can be expected to work in the same way or equally well for everyone. Any other decision by the court would have had the potential to stifle innovation or at least make it less attractive, particularly for smaller companies. It is important to remember though that this case impacts on all products and not just those in the life sciences sector.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Representing the defendant in such a high-profile case with hundreds of claimants is always going to present some media challenges. However, once the judgment was handed down we were quick to get our press release out to all relevant media detailing the case so that a more balanced view was presented. Of course, not all the media will present a balance, but on the whole the coverage has been fair.’
Why become a lawyer: ‘I always enjoyed reading and debating, and law was a career that brought the two together. I also did think it might be a little bit glamorous and, although it sometimes delivers in that respect, I have been generally disappointed to date!’
Career high: ‘Joining Davies Lavery and the subsequent merger soon after with Kennedys. At Davies Lavery I got to work with, and still do, two partners, Trevor Davies and Andrew Hunn, who show me that you can be a brilliant lawyer, while still being kind, compassionate and supportive. And to be part of a firm like Kennedys that has been on a phenomenal global expansion over the past few years has certainly broadened my horizons and experience.’
Career low: ‘I had a hard time securing a training contract. I applied for dozens of positions over a two-year period. While my friends were securing training contracts and being funded through law school, I only got my training contract in the last few months of law school. I know many people are in the same position now and that it’s a tough market, but my message is that persevering is worthwhile. My experience has meant that I never lose sight of what it was like to start out, and I realise how fortunate I am to be in the position I am now.’