Mairin Costello – Trainee to Solicitor with PSG

You are currently a Clinical Negligence Solicitor with Price Slater Gawne, what was your pathway to your current role?

On my LPC (2010 – 2011) the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence elective was the one I enjoyed the most.

Following my LPC I went straight into employment with a high street firm in Macclesfield (June 2011). My caseload was claimant personal injury. Initially, I worked with the new claims team contacting new clients, obtaining their claim details and submitting their claims onto road traffic accident portal claims. After around 6 months I was moved onto a solicitor’s team. I started to build up my own case load of both portal cases and non-portal cases, litigated and non-litigated. Some of the claims included uninsured loss recovery for vehicle damage. With the uninsured loss recovery aspect it was sometimes necessary to defend some claims on behalf of clients. I also assisted the senior solicitor on a few of her high value clinical negligence cases which helped me develop my understanding of clinical negligence cases in practice.

In June 2013, I moved to a national firm and was based in their Liverpool offices as a Claims Handler in the Uninsured Loss Recovery (ULR) team. I managed a claimant caseload of non-litigated and litigated ULR motor claims from inception to settlement. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed this role it reinforced that I was passionate more about practicing in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence.

That prompted me to apply for a training contract with Price Slater Gawne who are clinical negligence specialists and also had personal injury cases. I started my training contract with Price Slater Gawne in September 2014 and was admitted to the roll of solicitors on 1st September 2016.

What was it about Price Slater Gawne that inspired you to take up a training contract here?

As above. Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence has always been the area of law I have been passionate about and wanted to specialise in. Price Slater Gawne were not only Chambers recognised specialists in clinical negligence they were also a forward thinking, innovative firm with the qualified solicitors working remotely from home.

During your training contract, what skill and experience did you gain?

I gained invaluable experience in both clinical negligence and personal injury on my training contract.

Victoria Price was my supervisor for Personal Injury and Criminal Injury Compensation cases. I had a case load of both portal and non-portal PI high and low value cases. Victoria also trained me on CICA cases which was something I had not done before. I gained knowledge of obtaining police records, focused witness statements from the client and valuing the claims using the CICA scheme.

Victoria’s training developed my understanding of the evidence required in the higher value PI cases, what experts to instruct, what support networks to refer clients to and to have a more personal approach to clients.

Mark Slater was my supervisor for my Clinical Negligence case load. Mark’s training assisted me to develop the essential skills that make a good solicitor including time management, document drafting, a good understanding of the law surrounding clinical negligence, reviewing medical records and identifying breach and causation. At the beginning Mark attended client appointments with me and this helped me gain an understanding of communicating with clients who had suffered clinical negligence as well as what information to provide to them. Whilst on my training contract Mark always encouraged me to look for the answer myself and then discuss it with him rather than just asking him what the answer was.

My training contract involved assisting the other senior solicitors within Price Slater Gawne which included not only working on their cases and preparing for trials but attending trials, inquests, court hearings as well as doing infant approval hearings and pre inquest review hearings myself.

By the end of my training contract I could confidently research case law, the Whitebook and the CPR. I could independently draft instructions to experts, instructions to counsel, witness statements, letters of claim, particulars of claim, schedules of loss, court documents and prepare for trial.

My training contract gave me a solid foundation of knowledge and court based experience for when I qualified.

Following your training contract, you remained with the firm. What made you make this decision?

It was an easy decision because Price Slater Gawne is a great firm to work for. The Directors are the best in their field and encourage us to be the best. My colleagues are highly experienced solicitors who are approachable and always happy to assist. There is a great sense of support within the firm because there is a supervision framework in place so that each of our employees has a senior colleague to discuss our cases with. This enables me to talk through any issues I am having and to discuss the best next step(s) to take.

Price Slater Gawne have great administrative and accounts teams who keep things running in the background and make our jobs easier.

What advice would you give to somebody considering a training contract with Price Slater Gawne?

Your training contract will be what you make of it. In Price Slater Gawne you have the best around you. If you put the work in, listen and learn as you train then you will develop invaluable skills and gain experience that will set you in good standing for life as a qualified solicitor.