The importance of choosing a medical negligence specialist solicitor

As part of its submission to the Legal Education and Training Review, the Legal Services Consumer Panel made a clear recommendation that in future solicitors need to become increasingly specialist. In particular, this consumer panel has suggested that there needs to be a regular re-accreditation process for solicitors in various legal disciplines. There is no doubt that this reflects a growing trend in the profession – which continues to move away from the traditional pattern of generalist solicitors [a bit like your GP, who is trained in a number of areas] to one of increased expertise in any chosen legal discipline.

Given the plethora of legislation, regulations and rules that various governments continue to introduce, surely being a generalist solicitor risks, not only poor service to clients and but they significantly heightened risk of professional negligence. How can any single solicitor really expect to keep up-to-date in too many areas of law – I wouldn’t want to appoint any solicitor who claimed to be an expert in say, medical negligence, conveyancing, divorce, wills and probate – would you? Of course not. It simply isn’t possible. Yet, although there have been welcome changes of late, the training for solicitors has traditionally been remarkably generalist, and many firms, especially one-man bands, continue to tout individuals solicitors as experts in a wide number of fields.

We take accreditation very seriously. Our team are members of numerous specialist panels and associations – we have example two jointly qualified family mediators/lawyers and two trained collaborative lawyers. Our personal injury and medical negligence team are particularly well trained and specialist and between them are members of the following panels;

• both the Law Society’s Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Panel

• the AvMA [Action against Medical Accidents] Solicitor’s Panel

• the Spinal Injuries Association Specialist Solicitors Panel

• the Specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor’s Panel run by Law Assist

• the Spinal Injuries Association Specialist Solicitors Panel

Most of these panels require significant experience to join in the first place – and regular training and re-accreditation. Furthermore, Bonallack and Bishop is one of just approximately 150 law firms in England and Wales with a legal aid [now known as public funding] franchise for personal injury and medical negligence claims.

Our advice – when you need to appoint a solicitor [especially in a field as complex as medical negligence claims], make sure you get the best – ensure that your solicitor is a genuine specialist and doesn’t dabble.