Celebrating success in Medical Negligence

DANIEL Phelps has been with Pearson Solicitors for a few years working as a paralegal in the medical negligence team.

The law firm has supported Daniel throughout his studies and is pleased to announce he has now qualified as a solicitor.

Daniel studied for A Levels at Oldham Sixth Form College, then an LLB Law with Criminology at the University of Manchester. He completed his LPC and LLM Masters in Legal Practice at the University of Law and during this period he worked four days a week at Pearson, commencing his training contract in the final year of his Masters.

Daniel Phelps: Pearson Solicitors staff.

Here he talks about combining his studies with work and how he has finally achieved his ambition.
What made you want to be a solicitor?

It’s a career path I didn’t envisage until I started studying Law at A Level. I chose law initially as I enjoyed essay-based subjects and was told I was good at arguing.

Why medical negligence?
It’s a good split between the black letter law associated with litigation with the nuances associated with medicine. I believe it is a very important area of work that is quite often one of, if not the, most important thing going on in the client’s life at that time.

My curiosity for medical negligence was piqued in my second year of university where I took an elective module ‘law, medicine and ethics’ in which it built upon the principles of negligence from the tort law module and applied them to medicine and I knew then it was the right area for me.

What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy the variety of cases the role brings – no two medical negligence cases are the same.

Pearson Solicitors have provided me with a good standard of training so I have been able to qualify and hit the ground running.

Where you see yourself in five or 10 years?
I would hope to be still in a job and still at Pearson! Ideally, I would like to look towards some form of judicial post but that may be a tad further away than 10 years.

What has shocked you most in medical negligence work?
With regard to the worst of cases when considering emotions, it would be the two-year delay in diagnosis of cancer due to an administrative error. Technically worst would have to be the surgical errors which quite simply shouldn’t happen, for example stapling the incorrect end of bowel or even a patient having their leg burnt during surgery.

However with regards to catastrophic injury, the cerebral palsy cases are always quite horrific and challenging emotionally. It has to be all about the children and the effect the negligence has on the whole family.

Why do people need compensation?
Some people need compensation to put them in the place they would have been (as far as possible) before the negligence. Others require complex care and so to maintain a quality of life they need money to pay for care.

In your opinion why do people make a medical negligence claim?
For some, they need answers and closure, particularly when someone has sadly passed away.

Others want to hold someone accountable for what they perceive to have been a wrong and want to prevent it from reoccurring. And of course they need money for care, physiotherapy or assistance after their injury.

What is it about your job that gives you a buzz?
I enjoy getting to grips with the medicine and negotiating settlements with defendant’s solicitors.

You have to think on your feet and often it is a case of strategy rather than the content of what you are saying.

Inspiring people to consider a career in law
Daniel is keen to support young learners. Earlier this year he was invited back to Oldham Sixth Form College to be the guest speaker at an Aspiring Lawyer’s Programme seminar.

Daniel was able to give an insight as to his reasons for becoming a lawyer and how to decide which area of law to specialise in.

He also provided tips to the students on applying themselves to studying and how to stand out among the competition.

• If you are considering a career in law our team is happy to chat with aspiring young legal students.

Call 0161 785 3500 or email enquiries@pearsonlegal.co.uk for advice.

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