A recently qualified solicitor has set her sights on becoming an accredited member of the specialist law society panel for clinical negligence, whilst continuing to provide vital legal support to those who’ve suffered as a result of poor medical care.
Sarah Scully, 28, completed her combined four-year law degree and legal practice course (LPC) at Northumbria University before joining Hudgell Solicitors as a Litigation Assistant in January 2014.
Having previously gained experience at two other legal firms, she then secured a training contract at Hudgell Solicitors’ Leeds office in April 2015, providing a vital pathway to her becoming fully qualified.
Completing her training contract as she planned for her own wedding, Sarah qualified just days before she was married in September 2016 – marking the start of exciting new lives both at home and at work.
She has now set her sights on becoming a member of a national specialist panel for clinical negligence – bodies on which those with track records of handling high-value and complex cases sit.
Qualification demonstrates expertise in clinical negligence claims
“I was delighted to fully qualify as a solicitor after the years of commitment and dedication, and I believe it is something which gives additional confidence and assurance to my clients,” she said.
“It demonstrates expertise in this field, and shows you have reached the required levels of competency in key areas.
“I would now like to work towards becoming a member of a specialist panel for clinical negligence on a national level, and that will be my goal as I continue to represent people in the years to come.”
Due to her previous legal experience, Sarah completed 18 months of training alongside a professional skills course, which involved external training, before qualifying. Her qualification was awarded by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Criteria to qualify was primarily portfolio-based and involved one exam, and she had to prove she had met specific competencies in various areas of law.
Sarah has already handled several high-profile cases in her time with Hudgell Solicitors, including securing £10,000 compensation for bride-to-be Faye Walters after sub-standard dentistry ruined her teeth just before her wedding.
Sarah currently works on a wide range of medical and dental negligence claims cases, covering a broad spectrum of areas, but had a particular interest in delays in diagnosis of cancer and maternal birth injury claims.
Sarah also has an increasing case load of nursing and care home matters dealing with neglectful treatment of the elderly.
She said: “I have always wanted to go into a career that helps and supports people in need, and a way of doing that was to become a solicitor. I have always had a passion for clinical negligence also. People come to us after they have been badly let down and they need our support. Very often, clients have been through horrific experiences and it is satisfying to know I can support them.
Solicitors have to be a ‘middle man’ between experts and clients
Sarah remembers her first introduction into clinical negligence, and how being thrown in at the deep end on a case set her up for the career she has come to love.
“My first introduction to clinical negligence was when I worked for an expert in the field and I remember him handing a case to me, and telling me to speak to him about it 30 minutes later,” she said.
“I had never looked at one before and, from that point, I worked closely with him and developed in the field. That’s where it all started.
“You need a lot of patience and you need to be able to be the middle man between experts who speak in their specialist clinical language and the client who may not understand all of that and wants to know in plain English where they stand and where any developments leave their case. You need to be able to connect the dots.
“I try to make sure I speak to my clients in a jargon-free way and on a level which makes it as easy as possible for them to understand. It’s one of the most important aspects of the job.”