Sector’s best win big at the Personal Injury Awards 2021

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Irwin Mitchell, Switalskis Solicitors and Fletchers Solicitors were among the winners at the Personal Injury Awards 2021 ceremony last night.

The Personal Injury Awards returned to an in-person ceremony, temporarily held in Leeds this year, after going digital in 2020 amid the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

Hundreds of personal injury-focused professionals attended the event to celebrate this vital sector and recognise the important work being done on behalf of often extremely vulnerable clients.

In his speech delivered last night, Paul Nicholls, chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society and chair of the independent judging panel for the 2021 awards, praised the volume and quality submissions made, particularly at a time of such upheaval.

He said: “This is the 14th year that these awards have been held, and each year has seen the number of people enter and attend grow. We are still officially in the pandemic, so this only demonstrates the importance and quality of what these awards mean.”

Last night’s biggest winner was Irwin Mitchell, which won Outstanding Achievement of the Year and Personal Injury Trust Provider of the Year. Two of the firm’s lawyers, James Riley and Philip Banks, also picked up Outstanding Case of the Year.

The firm’s work during the pandemic was a particular highlight for the judges, with its support and rehabilitation co-coordinators team going above and beyond for clients during such a difficult time.

Two other firms, Switalskis and Fletchers, also had highly successful evenings, winning multiple categories.

The Switalskis child abuse team won Claimant Team of the Year for being “committed to making things better for their clients” and continuing “to do exceptional work in not just representing victims, but preventing abuse”.

The firm also saw Natalie Cosgrove crowned Clinical Negligence Lawyer of the Year, with the judges describing her as “excellent” and “an absolute star”.

Fletchers, meanwhile, won Clinical Negligence Team of the Year thanks to an “outstanding ethos that comes from the top” but is evident throughout the winning team’s work.

The judges said this team “impresses across the board, from their high case-load and ability to manage large and complex cases, to their innovation and flexibility over the course of the pandemic”.

Gemma Roberts of Fletchers was also named Young Achiever of the Year. With “a bright future ahead” of her, Roberts is already handling complex cases for someone so early on in their career.

Here is the full list of winners and the reasons for their success:

  • Barristers’ Chambers of the Year: Parklane Plowden Chambers
    • Sponsored by Somek & Associates
    • “The winner of Barristers’ Chambers of the Year receives unanimous praise from the judging panel for a full service offering that is consistently delivered to a high standard of professionalism. Notable highlights include its diversity and inclusion programme, as well how it adapted to the pandemic.”
  • Catastrophic Injury Lawyer of the Year: Ben Posford, Osbornes Law
    • Sponsored by VFS Legal Funding
    • “This catastrophic injury lawyer expertly undertakes a large breadth of cases, including some with a very high profile, and possesses a deep knowledge of quantum issues that the judges find impressive. They also come highly recommended and praised.”
  • Catastrophic Injury Team of the Year: Hugh James
    • Sponsored by Anglia Case Management
    • “The winning team is a seasoned, quality outfit whose cases demonstrate just how good they are. Crucially, they are a team of strong individuals who know how to get the best from one another to deliver positive results for clients.”
  • Claimant Lawyer of the Year: Kim Harrison, Slater and Gordon
    • Sponsored by Proclaim Care
    • “This lawyer is a methodical, straight-talking practitioner who excels in multiple roles across personal injury, from boosting the reputation of their practice and leading the way on diversity in the sector, to representing claimants in high-profile cases.”
  • Claimant Team of the Year: Switalskis Solicitors
    • Sponsored by Premex Services
    • “The winner of Claimant Team of the Year is a go-to team for child abuse cases. They are actively committed to making things better for their clients and continue to do exceptional work in not just representing victims, but preventing abuse. An impressive winner.”
  • Claims Management Company of the Year: Winns
    • “This claims management provider is the clear winner. It puts clients front and centre of its service through excellent engagement, while seeking independent validation to ensure it continues to do a top job. The winner is also innovative, using technology to maintain its high customer service levels well into the future.”
  • Clinical Negligence Lawyer of the Year: Natalie Cosgrove, Switalskis Solicitors
    • Sponsored by Frenkel Topping Group
    • “This clinical negligence lawyer emerges as the winner in a highly competitive category. The nature of their work makes this lawyer stand out, as do the multiple roles they play in cases, not only representing claimants but helping defendants to learn and improve. This lawyer is excellent and, according to the judges, an absolute star.” 
  • Clinical Negligence Team of the Year: Fletchers Solicitors
    • Sponsored by Exclusive Health
    • “The winning team operate an outstanding ethos that comes from the top but is evident throughout their work. This team impresses across the board, from their high case-load and ability to manage large and complex cases, to their innovation and flexibility over the course of the pandemic.”
  • Defendant Team of the Year: Flint Bishop
    • Sponsored by Sharedo
    • “This was a very tough category to call, but the winning team stands out for their impressive work in counter fraud, particularly their use of voice analysis technology to identify perpetrators. A very worthy winner.”
  • Insurance Provider of the Year: Allianz Legal Protection
    • Sponsored byMobile Doctors
    • “The winner of Insurance Provider of the Year is a top insurer who offers data and evidence demonstrating its calibre and capabilities. This provider also shows a commendable commitment to supporting cases that are important to the personal injury profession.”
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year: Bush & Co
    • Sponsored by ARAG
    • “The winner of this award has an excellent marketing department that impresses the judges immensely. It took a highly innovative approach during the pandemic, in response to the lack of in-person meetings, and secured excellent engagement, proven by clearly demonstrated results.” 
  • Mediation Achiever of the Year: Philip Hesketh, Trust Mediation
    • “The winner of Mediation Achiever of the Year is the clear choice. It is highly experienced and flexible, embracing ADR and quick settlement, all while reaching out to the wider sector through education and training.”
  • Medicolegal Provider of the Year: Medical Legal Appointments
    • “This medicolegal provider has a long track record in delivering services that achieve high customer satisfaction levels, backed up by independent validation. The judges are particularly impressed that the winner continues to maintain such high standards.”
  • Outstanding Achievement of the Year: Irwin Mitchell
    • Sponsored by Financial & Legal
    • “This award goes to an organisation that delivered exceptional customer support during the pandemic with a broad offering. Its support and rehabilitation co-coordinators team went out of their way to play a pastoral role in a trying time. A fantastic effort and well done.”
  • Outstanding Case of the Year: James Riley and Philip Banks, Irwin Mitchell
    • Sponsored by Allianz Legal Protection
    • “This award goes to a highly sensitive case that was incredibly well managed, with the winning team securing a good outcome for their clients. And they took this unique case all the way to the Supreme Court, meaning it will be followed and studied in the future.”
  • Personal Injury Trust Provider of the Year: Irwin Mitchell
    • “The judges praises all of these finalists’ excellent offerings. Their chosen winner edges the competition with an impressive range of cases and ability to provide a detailed and informed financial view to each and every client.”
  • Rehab Provider of the Year: STEPS Rehabilitation
    • “A close category full of exceptional finalists, the judges are thrilled with their ultimate decision, because they get to recognise the innovation and talent at the very heart of the winning organisation, which they believe is an example to follow.”
  • Supporting the Industry Award: Frenkel Topping Group
    • “A very worthy winner, this organisation consistently demonstrates a commitment to supporting the sector and some of its most vulnerable clients. The judges are proud to see such an organisation involved in personal injury.”
  • Young Achiever of the Year: Gemma Roberts, Fletchers Solicitors
    • Sponsored by Rathbones
    • “The winner of Young Achiever of the Year is a real star with a bright future ahead of them. They already handle complex cases for someone so early on in their career and, according to the judges, are definitely going places.”
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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk