Further Accolade for Injury Lawyer. Atherton Godfrey Expands Clinical Negligence Team

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1 Issue 1 // Spring 2011 new website launched athertongodfrey.co.uk Law Firm Well Represented at Clinical Negligence Conference Sponsoring Local Sports Stars Relocation of the Commercial and Property Department Expands Clinical Negligence Team Further Accolade for Injury Lawyer

2 Solicitors // LEGALVOICE All the support you need Hello Reader, Welcome to the first issue of Atherton Godfrey s quarterly newsletter Legal Voice. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep our staff, clients, suppliers and business partners i nformed of our latest developments, including acquisitions, staff accomplishments and the sponsorship of local events and individuals. The first issue of Legal Voice includes many of the key developments that took place at the firm in It also covers the latest news from the first part of 2011, which has definitely started well for us. This issue includes a number of key stories, including the growth of our clinical negligence team and the relocation of the Property and This newsletter is to keep our staff, clients, suppliers and business partners informed of our latest developments and accomplishments. Commercial Department to new premises on South Parade (a significant move for me, having been based at the Hall Gate offices since the firm s formation in 1979). I hope that you find Legal Voice an enjoyable and interesting read and I look forward to the release of future issues. CHARLES GODFREY Senior Partner In this issue Further Accolade for Injury Lawyer Page 03 Expands Clinical Negligence Team Page Expands Clinical Negligence Team Page Relocation of the Commercial and Property Department Page 06 Scores Legal Aid Hat Trick Page 07 shares its success through a series of Sponsorships Page 08 02

3 Issue 1 // Spring 2011 Further Accolade for Injury Lawyer partner John McQuater recently received the honour of being invited to join the FOCIS (Forum of Complex Injuries Solicitors). The FOCIS consists of the UK s most respected personal injury and clinical negligence lawyers, as well as US lawyer Richard D Grand, the forum s President and Founder. Membership to the forum is limited to just 50 solicitors and only solicitors that meet the forum s strict criteria are invited as members. Delighted with his membership, John commented: This membership will help me, along with, promote an understanding of issues which arise for those that suffer from serious injuries, both locally and nationally. We will also benefit from further insight on key injury issues as the forum promotes shared knowledge amongst its members, which will in turn benefit our clients. In addition to this accolade, John also recently served a full and successful term as President of APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) and is considered to be amongst the top personal injury and clinical negligence lawyers in the country. This membership will help me, along with, promote an understanding of issues which arise for those that suffer from serious injuries, both locally and nationally. Further APIL Recognition for Staff Doncaster based law firm is becoming well recognised for its involvement with APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers). In addition to John McQuater s recent term as President of the Association, fellow staff member Gillian Ward was recently elected as the secretary of the APIL Procedure Special Interest Group. APIL exists to help its members fight for the rights of injured people throughout the UK and promotes full and just compensation for all individuals. Having started work at in 2001, Gillian works primarily with Road Traffic Accident (RTA) cases. Delighted with her election, Gillian had the following comments I am pleased to be involved in the Procedure Special Interest Group at this level. It will provide me and the department as a whole with a greater insight into procedural aspects of personal injury law and will, as a consequence, help with the claims we pursue on behalf of our clients. 03

4 Solicitors // LEGALVOICE Acquires Clinical Negligence Team is proud to announce the expansion of its clinical negligence team following the move of part of the clinical negligence team from Atteys to the firm. These new team members have now joined s own well recognised Legal 500 approved Clinical Negligence Department. The result of this expansion is that Atherton Godfrey now has the largest Clinical Negligence Practice in Doncaster and one of the biggest throughout South Yorkshire. Amongst the team of 16 strong are 3 members of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme (John McQuater, Christopher Noble and Bob Allen), reflecting a range and depth of experience across all types of clinical negligence work. The team also includes 3 former nurses, one of whom is now a qualified solicitor. John McQuater, the firm s Head of Litigation, stated This is not only a significant development for our team, but provides an important legal resource for the people of Doncaster who have access to local, specialist, advice in the area of clinical negligence. The new team members, including Bob Allen and Jodie Cook, are based at the firm s offices on Hall Gate in Doncaster town centre. This is not only a significant development for our team, but provides an important legal resource for the people of Doncaster who have access to local, specialist, advice in the specialised area of clinical negligence. 04

5 Issue 1 // Spring 2011 Law Firm Well Represented at National Conference was once again well represented at the APIL Clinical Negligence conference last year. The first day of the conference took place on Thursday, 30th of September and the first session was Chaired by none other than s own Head of Litigation John McQuater. The theme of the conference was the digestive system and eminent experts and practitioners covered many aspects relating to clinical negligence in regards to this particular area. In addition to John, a total of 6 members of the clinical negligence team were on hand, including Head of Clinical Negligence Christopher Noble, to hear speeches from the likes of Professor Roger Williams CBE, Professor Anthony Axon and Dr Giles Maskell. now has the largest clinical negligence team in Doncaster. Believing attendance of the conference is of paramount importance for any good clinical negligence team, John McQuater had the following comments: Cases related to the digestive system are an important area of practice. Lawyers dealing with these cases need the type of specialist medical knowledge that is given at conferences like this from leading experts in the UK. now has the largest clinical negligence team in Doncaster so it is important we are well represented at these events to ensure local people have the very best support when needing advice on this type of matter. 05

6 Solicitors // LEGALVOICE High Praise from Former Trainee is delighted by the recent comments former employee Kevin Poulter provided in the Legal Executive Journal regarding his time at the firm. Kevin, who is now a fully qualified solicitor and sits on the Executive Committee of the Junior Lawyers Division had the following comments regarding his time at the firm, in relation to an article where he discussed the topic of the trend of some law firms offering legal practitioners unpaid paralegal work with vague promises of future benefits. Work experience is a wonderful thing. Without it I doubt I or many other lawyers would be in the position they are in today. I was fortunate to have found a local firm willing to entertain me for a fortnight during a school placement, which progressed to regular (paid) work in the school holidays and ultimately to a training contract. Kevin then went on to comment on the firm s staff development ethos. At the same firm employees who may have started out as administrative assistants had the opportunity of training to become secretaries, then legal executives and for some eventually qualify as solicitors. An investment was made by the individuals who spent much of their free time studying and learning. Given time, the pay scale reflected the commitment of both sides would like to thank Kevin for his kind remarks and will continue to develop the legal talent of tomorrow. Relocation Commercial and Property Department 2010 was a year of substantial growth for Doncaster law firm. This has resulted in increased recruitment for the firm, including the expansion of the Clinical Negligence Department. As a result of the shortage of space at the Hall Gate office, the Commercial and Property Department has relocated to offices on South Parade. Included in the move is the firm s Senior Partner, Charles Godfrey, who has been based at the offices on Hall Gate since the firm was founded in Pleased with this expansion, Charles commented Whilst moving offices after over 30 years does seem a little strange, I am delighted that Atherton Godfrey is performing well, especially in the current economic climate. The remaining departments of the firm, including Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence, Family Law and Wills and Probate will remain at the original premises on Hall Gate. 06

7 Issue 1 // Spring 2011 Five of the Best for Proud Law Firm A total of five family lawyers at Doncaster based law firm have recently qualified as Legal Executive Advocates. Jan Jackson, Cath Freeman, Jayne Kirtley, Elaine Hissey and Shrene Butterworth all passed the ILEX Family Proceedings and Advocacy Skills examinations. The Legal Executive Advocate qualification is by no means easy to achieve for a family lawyer, with only two other individuals holding the qualification in South Yorkshire. Delighted with the accomplishment of all five staff members, the Head of the Family Department and partner in, Don Bird, commented We are all very proud of them, particularly as achieving this qualification is exceptionally challenging. Their accomplishment shows their professionalism and dedication to achieving the best possible results for the clients they represent. This qualification will allow them all to appear in County and Magistrates Courts and exercise rights of audience similar to those exercised by solicitors and barristers on behalf of clients. Scores Legal Aid Hat-trick Following on from a number of successful tenders to the Legal Services Commission (LSC), Doncaster law firm Atherton Godfrey is delighted to announce it has won a total of 3 legal aid contracts, in the areas of family law, clinical negligence and public law. Legal aid exists to help people in genuine need get high quality legal advice, assistance and representation, who would not otherwise be able to benefit from this due to their financial circumstances saw increased competition amongst law firms vying for these contracts. Last year the LSC reduced the number of firms to receive family contracts by a massive 46%, meaning just 1,300 firms nationwide received the contract, as opposed to 2,400 in Competition is even higher for Clinical Negligence contracts with less than 1% of law firms in the UK being entitled to represent clients using legal aid in clinical cases. Finally, can provide legal aid to individuals that wish to challenge the fairness/legality of the decisions of public authorities, such as local government and councils under their new public law contract. Winning these contracts is a testament to the professionalism of the firm stated partner John McQuater. The LSC s selection process has been very thorough and only the law firm s with highly accredited representatives have obtained these types of contracts. Having fought for the legal rights of the people of Doncaster for the past 25 years, John is also delighted that local people will also see benefit from these wins. Everyone should have access to local, high quality, legal representation, irrelevant of financial resources states John. Those in the Doncaster area needing advice can still contact for all the legal support they need. 07

8 Solicitors // LEGALVOICE shares its success through a series of Sponsorships 2010 was an extremely successful year for Doncaster based law firm, despite the tough economic climate. Having had such a great year the firm ensured it shared its success through a series of sponsorships. Based on the nature of its personal injury and clinical negligence work, the firm has always enjoyed a close relationship with the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA). When it discovered that James Wood (Vice Chair of the Association) was attempting to become the first spinal cord injured man in Europe to swim the channel, then it just had to pledge its support via sponsorship. pledged 25 for every personal injury claim it made during July and August of 2010 for this brave attempt. James successfully completed his swim on Wednesday, 22nd of September in a time of 14 and a half hours, despite having an injured shoulder. In addition to James, has pledged sponsorship to a number of local personalities to help them achieve their sporting dreams. The firm has sponsored sponsored British Supersport Motorcycle Racer Dean Hipwell for a number of years. Dean (from Harworth) regularly races at venues such as Brands Hatch, Silverstone and Cadwell Park. In his most recent race at Silverstone, Dean achieved a top ten finish. Bircotes strong man Jordan Haycock has also received financial support from the firm in his quest to become the World s Strongest Man. Jordan has already broken a number of Britain s powerlifting records as a junior and hopes to continue his phenomenal success as he gets ready to enter further competitions over the coming year. James Wood swimming the Channel Other local recipients of support from the firm include English Senior Snooker Tour player Tony Buckley and Jonathan Cota, a competitor in the World Deaf Squash Championships. launches new website 08

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