How I helped my Personal Injury Clients during the Pandemic
- AuthorCeri Noble
Ceri Noble was a trainee solicitor in the Personal Injury team at JCP Solicitors at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. On the 1st September 2020 she qualified as an Associate Solicitor in the team. In this blog she talks about helping clients during lockdown, the support from JCP and looking forward to the future:-
“On Monday 23 March 2020 I received the firm-wide email stating that we would be going into lockdown. I diligently cleared my desk, packed up my files, switched my phone to divert and prepared to work from home.
Once we passed the initial teething problems, both myself and the rest of the Personal Injury team settled into our new daily routine which consisted of corresponding via email, chatting to clients over the telephone and taking part in Zoom video calls. It took a couple of weeks, but all of a sudden this was the new norm. We all needed to adjust but the work carried on.
My clients were brilliant, every one of them adapted really quickly and most importantly we shared some common ground whenever we would talk on the phone. We were all sharing in this experience for the first time and we were in it together. For me, that definitely felt like I was building a more trusted advisor/client relationship.
One of the most apparent changes was arranging for the medical examinations to be carried out via video-link. My clients were turning to Zoom, Facetime and Skype (sometimes for the first time) for their medical consultations, and all appointments have been successful to date. Carrying out these consultations via video-link has meant that clients were able to undergo examinations in the comfort of their own homes without the risk of venturing out. This also ensured no further delay in the progress of their claims. This is continuing at the moment and, as it has been so successful, it could be something that continues in the future, depending on the suitability of the case. I have found that the consultations which have been most successful are appointments with Psychologists and Psychiatrists to examine psychological symptoms. Clients have been less anxious and nervous in attending the consultation as they are in their own surroundings, discussing at times, sensitive issues.
Working from home pushed me to work more independently and have more confidence in my abilities, whilst always knowing there was someone at the other end of the phone if I ever needed it. Back in early June I attended a webinar about qualifying during a pandemic, this highlighted the various issues trainees are facing. Issues such as whether you have had sufficient training to qualify, or whether a request should be considered to re-do your final seat. I count myself very lucky that my training pretty much carried on as normal, albeit with a few communication tweaks.
Mental health has been a keyword for JCP during the last five months. It can be incredibly tough being away from the office with no day to day social support from colleagues. Whilst we have regular team meetings over Zoom and Whatsapp groups, along with regular check- ins from HR, nothing really beats that face to face chat in the kitchen over a cup of tea. At the moment the JCP offices are opening in careful phases, and there are no plans to rush people back into the office if it is not absolutely necessary. The management team are taking things slowly and are putting the safety of the staff first, which I completely understand. It makes me feel really valued as an employee.
I now find myself looking forward to and appreciating the small things, such as my weekly cello lesson (via Zoom), speaking with my family, and taking part in our new weekly family tradition of ‘Friday Night Dinner’ which has included a range of different cuisines.
I know that I have been very lucky to have worked throughout the pandemic and to have been offered a qualified position with JCP in the Personal Injury team. I know that that not all trainees in England and Wales are in the same boat.
Going forward I am keen to play a key role in the development of the team. I enjoy working in the field of Personal Injury because I love the human element of the work and interacting with people. I also feel as though I am helping people, not just by supporting them throughout what can be an emotional and uncertain time, but also assisting with arranging the necessary treatment and rehabilitation required to recover from their injuries.”
For more information on the Personal Injury team at JCP Solicitors, contact Ceri Noble on 01792 525421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.