Ison Harrison Solicitor and Partner, Iain Oliver, is celebrating a milestone this year, as it marks 30 years since he became a lawyer. In addition, this month is Iain’s 15th successive year of working at Ison Harrison.
Iain is also branch manager of our Ilkley office, which has been a recognised presence on The Grove in Ilkley since 2010.
So what is life as a lawyer like for Iain and how has his area of law changed over the years? We asked Iain to tell us a bit more about his career milestones.
Congratulations Iain; 30 years as a lawyer is a great achievement! How did it all start?
I trained at the law firm formerly known as Last Cawthra Smith Dunford (now LCF) and then in 1992 I joined Ison Harrison. I worked here for nearly ten years and then moved to Burton Burton & Ho for a short time before I made the move back to Ison Harrison in March 2007. I haven’t looked back since!
What do you find most rewarding about being a clinical negligence solicitor?
Working in clinical negligence, there is no better feeling than successfully concluding a case, particularly a birth injury case, with the knowledge that the child’s parents, who through no fault of their own have been made into full-time carers for their damaged son or daughter, now have the wherewithal to hire carers for their child for the rest of his/her life and that they can step back into their proper role of being Mum and/or Dad.
I really do get a warm glow when I get to the end of a successful case.
What is your day-to-day role like?
As a fee earner in the clinical negligence department, I deal with high value and complex claims suited to a Grade A (more than 7 years relevant PQE) fee earner. I run cases from start to conclusion aided by an excellent secretary and paralegal and, where necessary by other members of the team. I supervise one other fee earner at this current time.
Can you tell us about some of your most notable cases?
There are a number of cerebral palsy cases that I have settled which stand out for various reasons, not least the different ways in which the children were injured, which brings home just how fragile babies/foetuses actually are. It was also really pleasing to settle them so that the families in each case could get on with being a family with carers seeing to the injured child’s needs rather than the parents having to forego any enjoyment in life.
Are there any challenges you face as a clinical negligence solicitor?
Of course – and particularly when losing a case. I hate to lose cases where it is/seems obvious that the doctors have got things wrong but where the defendant’s experts are prepared to say that the treatment was only sub-optimal rather than negligent.
How has the field of clinical negligence changed over the last 5 years?
There are many more firms claiming to be specialists in clinical negligence and competing for the work due to the government’s decision to make the broader personal injury work less and less cost–effective. There is likely to be a big rise in solicitor negligence claims associated with poorly run clinical negligence claims in a few years as a result of this.
What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever been given?
If you are stuck with anything discuss it with a colleague or colleagues and between you the problem usually will be resoluble.
Iain, congratulations on celebrating 30 years as a lawyer. You are a valued member of Ison Harrison and your colleagues think so too – here’s a few words from some of them!
“Iain is one of the best – a fount of all knowledge and a real asset to the team and the firm.”
“Really lovely man. Very approachable and knowledgeable.”
“Iain is a fantastic mentor and teacher. Very grateful for his help and training, he is also a pleasure to work and share an office with.”
“It is difficult to convey how highly Iain is thought of, professionally and personally both in house and what I hear from Defendant firms.”