Who? Rachelle Mahapatra, medical negligence partner at Irwin Mitchell, Leeds.
Why is she in the news? Led a team of medical negligence lawyers representing 25-year-old Lucy Cookson, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury following childbirth.
Lucy is unable to walk or talk properly, is blind, tube-fed and relies on family and carers for help with everyday tasks.
Irwin Mitchell secured her a settlement from the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to fund a lifetime care and rehabilitation package. This was approved at Leeds High Court last week.
Thoughts on the case: ‘This is a truly tragic case that left a young mum with devastating, permanent brain damage and had a huge effect on her family. The intention is for Lucy’s house to be adapted so that she can come home full-time.
‘It cannot change what happened, but at least they now have the reassurance that Lucy will receive the correct level of care and support for the rest of her life.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Lucy’s family wanted to raise awareness of the issues they faced. They feel very strongly about accountability and transparency within the NHS but they were struggling to get answers about what happened without the help of lawyers.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘Brian Hogan, author of Smith and Hogan, the main criminal textbook for law students, was a family friend. He told interesting stories about criminal law. I originally intended to be a criminal solicitor but worked with a specialist clinical negligence solicitor during my training and the rest is history.’
Career high: ‘Winning Yorkshire Partner of the Year 2016 at the Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year Awards. It was amazing to be recognised for a job I love. It was really an endorsement of my team and my clients.’
Career low: ‘After 23 years practising as a clinical negligence solicitor, seeing the same mistakes being made, which can be devastating and life-changing for clients.’