Emily takes us through her weekly routine at Thompsons
Thompsons Solicitors’ nationwide team comprises skilled and specialist legal staff, each of whom are passionate about fighting on behalf of injured people in a range of claims for personal injuries, accidents at work, occupational illnesses and more.
This week we sat down with Emily Thornton, one of our legal trainees, to find out more about her role at Thompsons.
How did you kick-start your week at Thompsons?
“I began my week discussing my training contract with my training principal, as I’ll soon be working with some of the other specialist teams at Thompsons - clinical negligence, serious injury and employment rights. At the moment, I work within the asbestos diseases team but I will soon be spending two days a week in these different areas. As the teams at Thompsons specialise in particular areas, I won’t be doing the different types of work on the same day, but instead spending time with each member of the team, getting to know them and their processes.
“I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to complete my training contract with Thompsons – it’s been my goal since finishing my law degree in 2012. I thoroughly enjoy my role in the asbestos team but I am also looking forward to branching out and trying something new.”
What are your day-to-day responsibilities at the firm?
“My work in the office involves assisting solicitors in running their asbestos-disease cases,” Emily says. “On any given day I could be taking a client’s statement and writing it up, drafting a letter of claim, gathering factual and medical evidence, preparing ‘bundles’ for a court case and even liaising between various different parties – clients, defendants, experts, counsel and often the court. At the end of the day, it’s all about ensuring that claims proceed smoothly and efficiently, and that the client knows what is happening as the case progresses.”
Tell us about what you’ve got planned for the week ahead.
“At the end of this week, I’ll be travelling to visit a client in Pembrokeshire. It’s a beautiful part of the country and it is nice to spend some time out and about, working face-to-face with the people that we’re here to help. Within the asbestos team, most of our clients were exposed to asbestos around 40 years ago, sometimes without even realising it, and are only now developing associated respiratory diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening and asbestos-related lung cancer. These conditions, aside from the day-to-day pain and worry they bring, can be fatal.”
What will your client visit involve?
“As part of my client visit, I’ll be chatting to them about the details of their workplace from decades gone by so that I can draft a statement for them. This can often be challenging given the years that have passed, but many clients remember things as if they happened yesterday and the level of detail they can recall when you start asking questions is really impressive. I have to say, one of my favourite aspects of my role in the Thompsons asbestos team is meetings with clients - finding out about their lives and making a personal connection with them makes the work very fulfilling and worthwhile. It is often incredibly moving when you see their optimism and determination to carry on with their lives despite the hardships they are facing.
“Given that the periods of our clients’ working life that we are interested in happened so long ago, I also spend a great deal of time researching various workplaces, companies and practices in an attempt to get a complete picture and build up a claim, as well as to identify the correct defendants to make the claim against. It’s a bit like detective work! A lot of the companies that our clients worked for when they were exposed have long since ceased trading and I regularly have to issue court proceedings to restore a company that is no longer around so that we can obtain a judgment against them.
“Once we’ve identified a defendant, I will assist with the gathering of medical and financial evidence so that a schedule of loss can be put together. This is a formal document that breaks down the different aspects of a claim to value it based on the circumstances and information provided to us by each client. This often involves calculating future losses that are yet to be incurred - and regularly tests my maths!”
What other activities are you involved in at the firm?
“During my time at Thompsons, I have also attended various trade union events on behalf of the firm, so my days are always varied. Next week looks to be just as busy and includes a stay up in North Wales to see a client.”
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