Our newly joined medical negligence Solicitor, Claire Evans, recounts her extraordinary career as a nurse and a midwife, travelling across the Middle East and restarting her education career to become a Medical Negligence Solicitor.
My pathway into Law was unconventional; whilst my career has always revolved around medicine, I made the switch to medical law a little later. I began my career in Nursing at St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery in London (now known as the School of Health Sciences) where I obtained my undergraduate degree. I worked as a nurse in London for a year before deciding I wanted to do midwifery, and went on to obtain my Midwifery Diploma in Reading.
I spent several years travelling across the Middle East and Canada, gaining experience in hospital delivery suites in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia and underwater diving in my free time. Working in delivery suites in private Middle Eastern hospitals was a real eye-opener, particularly as a female. The level of care can be very hit and miss, not to mention the general social attitudes towards women. In comparison to the UK, it was like chalk and cheese – the experience means I now hold much respect and admiration for the NHS, which we often don’t appreciate as much as we ought to.
How did you make the switch to law?
Upon return to the UK, I worked in the delivery suite of the University Hospital of Wales. It isn’t uncommon for hospitals to require further education in midwifery, and I obtained a postgraduate Masters degree in Legal Aspects of Medical Practice. When working in obstetrics, you are very mindful of birth injury claims and a worst-case scenario of the hospital being sued. Injury to the baby or the mother are very serious and can add up to be hefty cases and claims, so having a further education qualification in medical negligence can prove to be incredibly valuable for a career in obstetrics, not to mention medical law.
I took a Law Conversion course, which aims at putting non-law graduates on equal footing as those with a law degree, before studying the Legal Practitioner’s Course (LPC). Trying to find and land a training contract can be like gold dust, so I knew that it was important to embrace any opportunity. In these early stages of a law career, you can find yourself working in a field that isn’t your first choice, however, very transferrable skills are gained.
I gained a wealth of experience working on both the Defendant and Claimant sides of medical negligence claims, which can be uncommon in solicitors; having experience of both sides gives legal experts in-depth knowledge and capability to work truly effectively in their clients’ best interest.
My experience working in nursing, midwifery and now as a solicitor on both sides has proven to be instrumental in medical law. The medical field requires a certain level of understanding of the terminology and how hospitals function, and this extends to medical negligence. My role at RHL Solicitors focusses on high value birth injury claims, surgical injury and most recently, dental claims.
Medical law can get bad press, with lawyers dubbed as ‘ambulance chasers’; however, it isn’t about financial gain or proportioning blame. If an incident could have been avoided, an individual is entitled to some security and reassurance, and that can include taking away financial worries. It’s our job to ensure that they are taken care of and given the support they deserve.
Why did you join RHL Solicitors?
After lockdown last year, like many, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I found myself greatly impressed at the firm’s ambition and precise way of working. It can be common for small firms to cut corners and skip the usual processes that larger firms follow; however RHL Solicitors shows stringent and rigorous attitudes in its modes of working, with meticulous care to detail and genuine care for its clients.
With RHL Solicitors’s medical negligence department rapidly expanding, it is inspiring to be spearheading that, building up caseloads and taking on new claims. The ambition of the firm and its commitment to providing the care and support that people need, is a very satisfying and rewarding place to be.
Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors understand that nobody would wish to begin the long and emotional journey of claiming damages against the medical profession without good cause.
However, if you have experienced clinical negligence, you are entitled to compensation and you deserve support.
We act to protect our clients with informed but sensitive advice for any injuries and physical, mental, or financial damage and loss you have incurred, handling the claims process from the first few stages, right through to settlement and aftercare.