HANNAH ROLESTON | LEGAL JARGON WRITER
It can be very difficult to decide what area of law you want to specialise in. There is an array of choice when it comes to practising law from corporate to planning and infrastructure, no two layers are the same. This is the third and final instalment in a three-part thread aiming to provide an insight into the vast world of legal sectors.
Plans are afoot that affect whiplash claims and small claims related to road traffic accidents.
Choose this if you have…
Empathy with injured people.
Good organisational skills.
A keen analytical mind.
A proactive attitude.
Personal injury is the law applying to compensation claims for people injured as a result of an accident or exposure to an industrial disease.
There are many types of personal injury claim, for example:
Motor claims (car, push-bike and motorcycle accidents);
Public liability claims (such as claims against the council for slips and trips);
Employers’ liability claims (accidents at work) and;
Industrial disease claims (such as exposure to hazardous products).
Cases can range in value from £1,000 to multi-million-pound claims for catastrophic injuries, and since anyone can suffer an injury you will deal with people from all walks of life.
There’s a lot of variety in case length. Fast-track cases are typically concluded within 24 months and are normally handled by one lawyer. On the other hand, catastrophic injury claims may take five years to complete; such claims will be led by a partner, who is supported by other legal advisers conducting different parts of the case. Legal advisers conducting fast-track cases tend to spend their time in the office, while catastrophic injury lawyers spend time out of the office, meeting clients and attending meetings with medical and other experts, barristers, other parties to litigation and attending court.
The best part of the job is that you get to know the injures person and their families very well during the course of the case, so helping them feels great.
As a trainee
Trainees are likely to assist a partner dealing with cases and attend meetings with clients. They are given the opportunity to draft documents and prepare instructions to experts and barristers.
Types of law practised
This area is less deadline-driven than transactional areas of practice – but always busy.
Choose this if you have…
Empathy – clients are more likely to be lay people than professionals, possibly coming to you at an emotional time.
An ability to build rapport.
Organisational skills – being able to multitask is essential when juggling ten matters at once.
A typical private client workload involves: estate, succession and tax planning; structuring wealth to pass down the generations; elements of trust management; and aspects of probate and charity work – often for high-net-worth private individuals.
Private client work differs from the transactional work that private equity or banking lawyers carry out. Expect to juggle ten different matters in a day rather than one or two big deals.
This area is less deadline driven, and therefore more controllable than transactional work.
The best part of the job is the variety of work and the clients. Private client lawyers travel fairly regularly to see clients.