I joined CEL Solicitors in November 2020 with over 7 years’ experience in the legal industry. I graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a 1st Class degree in Law and obtained a distinction in my LPC whilst also working part time.
I had worked exclusively in civil litigation gaining experience in legal costs work, employers/public liability claims, holiday illness claims, road traffic accident claims and police misconduct claims.
Since joining CEL Solicitors I have worked in the financial mis-selling team which is another amazing string to my bow that CEL Solicitors were more than happy to let me turn my hand to.
In my day to day role, I deal with a mixture of PPI Plevin claims and car finance claims, specifically in relation to hidden commissions charged within finance agreements. It’s a fairly contentious and developing area of law so I always try to be ahead of the game and ready for a challenge.
I am not much of a morning person so depending on how much sleep I want that day (and the trains) I tend to get to the office by around 8.30am. I like to make a coffee in our amazing machine without the rush before 9am and have a (half asleep) catch up with my colleagues, who like me, want to ease into the day.
Once my coffee is brewed a smile tends to appear on my face, because caffeine is life, and I sit down at my desk and log onto our case management system.
My first job of the day is usually to have a look at my emails to see if anything has come in after hours which may be urgent.
Being a paralegal in the financial mis-selling team, I deal with a mix of both pre and post litigation cases, i.e., cases which have not gone to court yet and those currently at court.
Given this mixed case load, I always check if there are any court deadlines which need to be complied with.
Having worked in a large team since I joined CEL Solicitors, I also check my work buddy’s task list for any urgent court deadlines when they are absent.
My buddy, the wonderful Jason, tends to be excellent in pre-empting being off and alerting me to any matters that need my attention in his absence, but I am always of the opinion it is better to be safe than sorry! It’s amazing what can come in by email and post in your absence especially from the currently overworked courts.
If there are court deadlines, then I assess these in terms of which is the most urgent and work my way through these files ensuring that everything is drafted and up to date.
Depending on how many court deadlines there are, I then turn to looking at any cases where settlement needs to be considered or where negotiations have started.
I look at these cases briefly in the morning so that I can assess when it is best to call or email the defendant in each case to try and have a chat with them to really push settlement along for the client.
Before I jump into my pre-litigation cases, it is usually time for my second coffee of the day. I get to catch up with my brother at the same time as he wonderfully works on the same floor and is usually looking for his second cup of tea around the same time!
Once the caffeine hit is in full effect, I then dig back into my emails, updating files with responses from clients and working through the remainder of my tasks. These tasks can include conducting initial reviews of new cases, sending data subject access requests, drafting and sending letters of claim and issuing new cases at court where appropriate.
Throughout my day I also assist my colleagues with any questions or queries they have about files, the court process or for new starters just how the hot water tap works!
I love helping people learn new skills and watching them grow. I believe it is so important to provide your colleagues with assistance when asked and to teach where you can, as their learning is not only going to improve their skills but will assist the firm in the long run.
I really believe that working in this industry should be collaborative not just within teams but within the firm.
1pm – lunchtime
At CEL Solicitors a work life balance is of the utmost importance, however, there are times when my 1pm lunch break starts at 1.20pm at which point my buddy Jason usually shouts at me to take my lunch!
First job on my lunch is to speak to my husband Alan for a few minutes, usually about our two cats Cleo and Neko, as well as replying to my mum and family who are back in Ireland.
My parents have finally figured out Whatsapp and video calls because of the Covid pandemic so keeping in touch this way means so much more to me given the past 18 months.
Depending on how prepared I was the night before, I will either have my lunch lounging on a bean bag, under a canopy of green plants, listening to a podcast/chatting to some of my colleagues, or, I head out into the city to grab some lunch from one of the many amazing independent businesses in the area including Bean in our building!
After lunch, I usually have a quick check on any emails that I have received from clients in the morning and during my lunch break, and I deal with any that need an urgent response.
After this, I have a meeting with my colleagues in the mental health team to discuss: our aims of the month; any important developments in mental health in the workplace; any important awareness days coming up, and how we can raise awareness generally in the office.
We have recently drafted a mental health policy following on from training we received through St Johns Ambulance to be mental health first aiders, so we are finalising the formal procedures to roll it out company wide and move on to being more active in our roles.
I am so proud to be part of the mental health team. My colleagues and CEL Solicitors are so dedicated to making sure that the stigma surrounding mental health is at least reduced if not eradicated from the office.
This stigma is so prevalent in the legal industry so everything we do in the mental health team is to support everyone in CEL Solicitors from paralegals to directors no matter what is going on in their professional or personal life.
Time for a pick me up! Our committee for social responsibility has recently opened a ‘tuck shop’ right beside our meeting rooms as one of the many ways we are raising funds for our chosen charity of the year – Claire’s House.
After a meeting it is extremely difficult to pass that tray by without picking up a twirl to go with a cup of tea to get stuck back into my task list.
In the last hour of the day, I find one of two things happen:
Luckily for me, today it is the former. Having checked on my files earlier in the day which we are in the middle of negotiations for settlement, I take this last hour of the day to call and email defendants to make a final push to achieve settlement. No one wants to be on the phone after 5pm so sometimes this is all the push that’s needed.
Having called four defendants to discuss matters, usually on their mobiles as many people in the legal industry are still working from home due to COVID restrictions, I have managed to get a hold of one defendant on a PPI Plevin claim.
After some discussions with them about our respective offers, we have agreed to meet in the middle by way of compromise and to get things settled in the best interests of each of our clients and without the need of any more litigation through the courts.
It’s an excellent way to end the day when you get to ring the settlement bell that we have in our reception area.
We’re officially done for the day, however, before I run for the train, I always have 10 minutes or so to wind down.
I check that all of my urgent tasks for the day are completed, any urgent emails are replied to and my desk is clear of any papers.
I also have a chat with whoever is left in the office as we pack up. Often this is Jess who likes to shout at me on occasion to go home!
On that note I head off home to hopefully dinner prepared by my husband and two happy little cats.