Our ‘Week in the Life’ series aims to find out more about the day-to-day job for people across the firm.

Here, we chat with Beth Liddle, a 27-year-old trainee solicitor who works in our Newcastle office. Beth lives in Gateshead, having moved to Newcastle to study at Northumbria University in 2012.

 

Trainee solicitor, Beth Liddle

How do you start your week at Thompsons?
I like to start my work day with an early morning gym session, though it is getting harder to get up as the mornings get darker. I also like to have a catch up with colleagues before settling into the day. I started at the firm during the Covid-19 lockdown, so it has been wonderful to be able to get into the office more when restrictions have allowed and meet colleagues in person after so many Zoom calls.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities at the firm?
I started my training with Thompsons in September last year (2020) and as a trainee solicitor, my role is quite broad and varies daily, which means there is always something new for me to learn, as I gain experience in different areas of law and with different teams. My first ‘seat’, or placement, was in the specialist asbestos team, which represents people diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. While there, I handed pleural plaques enquiries and dealt with a small number of pleural thickening and asbestosis cases. I also assisted my colleagues in complex mesothelioma cases working with them as they liaised with clients, drafted legal documents and instructed medical experts to report on a client’s condition and future prognosis. In September 2021, I moved to the clinical negligence department. My role has included drafting witness statements, reviewing medical records and attending conferences with counsel, (meetings with the barrister and client to discuss the next steps in the case). I’m moving next to the team that handles accidents with a value likely to exceed £25,000, or that involve complex issues which occupy the court for more than one day – known as multi track cases. Next year on 1 June 2022 I’ll be qualified!

What do you have planned for the week ahead?
I am attending a Zoom conference with counsel and an expert on a complex, high-value clinical negligence case, where the client had a full foot amputation at the ankle. I always learn new something new at these conferences. I enjoy understanding how legal and medical opinion come together in a claim, and issues are ironed out so that the client is happy with what is being said about them by the medical experts or for them by the barrister. I also have two of my professional skills courses this week - professional standards and client care. This training is essential to me gaining the knowledge and skills needed to qualify. The rest of my week will then be spent liaising with clients and drafting witness statements.

Looking back at the last week, what was your most memorable moment?
Last week, I spoke with a client who has suffered from complications from a vaginal mesh implant. I was able to put her at ease so that she could share personal details with me, which are important to her case, that she had previously felt nervous about sharing. It felt good to be able to provide that emotional support to her.

How do you like to unwind after a working week?
I enjoy going on hikes in the Lake District. I am currently trying to complete the Wainwrights – the 214 fells in the Lake District named after British fellwalker, Alfred Wainwright. This year, I completed 15 of them, including Scafell Pike, Skiddaw and Helvellyn. I also like trying out new activities, like surfing and paddle boarding, and am currently learning to ski.

 

Trainee solicitor Beth Liddle during a hike

What is your favourite part of the job?
I enjoy getting to know clients, hearing their personal experiences and supporting them through what is often a very difficult time in their lives. I believe in fairness and social justice and Thompsons’ commitment to only work for the injured or mistreated allows me to put these ideals into practice. I also like giving back to the community. I take part in various volunteering programmes and recently signed up to become a volunteer for Mesothelioma UK, a charity that supports UK mesothelioma patients and their families. Thompsons is a member of its Legal Panel.