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a day in the life: Social Care

20 November 2018

Taking the leap from Commercial Property to Social Care within our Insurance and Public Risk (IPR) department, I ventured into contentious territory hoping to get an experience of what life is truly like as a litigator. What I may not have fully appreciated is how diverse, dynamic, topical (and sometimes hectic) that life can be!

Within my first couple of weeks my diary was populated with multiple hearings including an Infant Approval Hearing and an Application to Set Aside at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, a Sentencing Hearing at Lincoln Crown Court and a Detailed Costs Assessment at the UK Supreme Court. Two key tips I picked up was to empty all your pockets so that you get though the airport-like security in good time and always keep a long-life battery pack with you.

Trainees in the Social Care team are given a lot of responsibility and manage their own caseload as well as completing tasks for other members of their team, which often includes reviewing records or conducting research. The plus side is that I am often in direct contact with courts, clients and other internal departments such as our costs team and barristers which has strengthened my network. Not only do I advise clients on the strengths and weaknesses of the claim but I get to understand their position and help develop a strategy which focusses on the most sensible approach to take commercially. Managing my own caseload has tested my organisation skills and time management and I have come to realise that in this line of work there are many, many deadlines.

The work itself is very interesting and predominantly consists of handling claims relating to historical sexual abuse on behalf of local authorities and insurance companies. It has opened up my eyes to the challenges within the care system and just when you think you know it all, things change. I joined the team at a time where the Supreme Court had just heard the case of CN & GN v Poole Borough Council (UKSC 2018/0012) and the Judgment is due to be handed down soon. Many cases within the team, including some of my own, will be affected by the Judgment- here’s hoping it doesn’t come out too close to Christmas!

I was given the opportunity to work on two high profile matters relating to the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which was investigating institutional failures to protect children in Nottingham. Seeing reports all over the news and media reminded me of how important, topical and politically-charged Social Care work can really be.

Life as a litigator is definitely a challenge. You will be kept on your toes with negotiations and deadlines whilst changes to the law mean you will never know it all. You will be subject to the unpredictability of the courts and your skillset will be put to the test but it is also very rewarding. No two days are the same, you have great contact with clients and there are not many areas of law that match up to the fast-paced, chess-playing thrill that comes with being in a contentious seat.