Executive director, Roberts Jackson, Wilmslow
My parents encouraged me to aim high and to love my work. I am passionate about gaining access to justice for my clients every day. I trained at Davis Blank Furniss in Manchester. The firm was founded in 1877, so it was very traditional in approach but always focused on putting the client first. It provided me with an excellent grounding since I had the opportunity to complete a training contract over the traditional four seats: property, family, corporate and litigation.
As a lawyer, the most difficult set of challenges has been the constant reform of legislation, which has affected the way we handled cases for our personal injury/industrial disease clients over the past six years.
My most recent challenge was returning to work as an executive director/head of legal following the birth of my son in September 2015. However, Roberts Jackson is a forward-thinking business led by a working mother and CEO, Karen Jackson. I have been provided with a supportive and flexible working environment.
I have had the opportunity to represent some of the most vulnerable clients in society: those suffering with industrial diseases through no fault of their own. I have lobbied government about access to justice and exemptions from fixed-fee reforms. I have trained hundreds of junior lawyers through the Roberts Jackson Training Academy, many of whom have qualified as solicitors.
Highlights of my career include successfully obtaining a large award for a client who had suffered with work-related dermatitis for 15 years. He had been turned away by six previous law firms.
Another highlight was becoming an executive director/shareholder at Roberts Jackson following private equity investment from NorthEdge Capital just before getting married in 2014.
I am the firm’s complaints partner. While complaints are infrequent, I always manage expectations and keep clients updated. Communication is key.
I have made a conscious decision to focus on industrial disease. I am working in an area that I find rewarding every day. I have practised in the bespoke field of industrial disease for the past eight years. I like to have client interaction and to achieve results for clients, results which can have a genuine impact on someone’s life.
I qualified as a solicitor in July 2008. I gained a hunger to survive, to succeed and to diversify when required. I would advise anyone entering the profession to think hard about juggling passion, commerciality and the ability to change, as opposed to a traditional career in the law.
I would like to see more firms changing their approach to the client journey, to achieve the best possible outcome for the client as soon as is practically possible.
For those potential lawyers who cannot, for various reasons, take the traditional university route, I hope for greater access to the profession though legal apprenticeships. And finally, I hope that legislative changes do not have any significant impact upon the most vulnerable members of society so that real access to justice is not denied.