We caught up with Amy Clowrey of the Child Abuse team at Switalskis, who is set to become a Director in April 2022, and was shortlisted in the Rising Star category at this year’s Yorkshire Legal Awards.
Amy is pretty humble about her award nomination. She says, “I’m just grateful to Switalskis for the support really,” although she does admit “it’s nice to be appreciated by your peers”. She’s no stranger to such recognition, having been named Rising Star of the Year at 2018’s Modern Law Awards.
Amy first worked at Switalskis in 2014, on secondment from the Personal Injury firm where she completed her solicitor’s training contract. “I just really liked Switalskis,” she says, “so I made a beeline to come back when I qualified.” After gaining experience in Personal Injury and Child Care Law, Amy knew that she wanted to work in David Greenwood’s Child Abuse Compensation team after qualifying. She says, “I realised there was a real link between people having suffered childhood abuse, and then going on to have their children taken away or losing their voice. I thought, ‘that’s where I want to be’.” The Child Abuse team seemed like a perfect fit, particularly as at the time, David Greenwood had just begun a high-profile case for victims of child sexual exploitation in Amy’s home town, Rotherham. “David has an incredibly good reputation, and I just wanted to work with nationally-recognised lawyers, and learn from them,” she says. She joined the team in 2016.
An active member of the legal profession, Amy has just been appointed to the Law Society’s Civil Justice Committee (John McQuater of Atherton Godfrey – another firm in the Switalskis Group – is also a member). She was also on the committee of the national Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division between 2015 and 2020, serving as Chair in 2018/19.
High-profile public roles like these have helped prepare Amy for working with the media as a lawyer. David Greenwood, himself a high-profile lawyer for many years, has also been a great support. “I’ve learned a lot from David and the work he’s done with the media,” she says.
Most notably, Amy has been the public face of the Lambeth case, where Switalskis represents around 500 survivors of childhood abuse, and the Whitlam’s Law campaign, which aims to extend drink-driving laws so that they apply on private land. She admits media work can be daunting, but says doing it successfully requires good preparation, and making sure you “come across as a human being”.
- Hear Amy on Talk Radio talking about the Lambeth case
- See Amy on Look North talking about the Whitlam’s Law campaign
Talking to Amy, her interest in the human side of a lawyer’s job is evident. She is a passionate advocate for junior lawyers and, when asked about the challenges facing them, talks about how firms must find ways of “doing the best by the junior members of the profession” amid hybrid and home working brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. She is also one of a cohort of trained Mental Health First Aiders at Switalskis, and says “it’s important to be able to recognise the signs of your colleagues struggling, to be able to signpost and support. I think it’s crucial.”
Working in a challenging role with clients who are often extremely vulnerable, Amy has a few strategies for managing her own mental wellbeing. She values time at the end of the working day where she can switch off from work by taking a bath or walking the dog. It’s important, she says, “to just put pens down at the end of the day. Otherwise, you just end up burning out and you’re no help to anybody”.
Amy has come a long way since joining Switalskis as a newly qualified Solicitor. As a Director-in-waiting, she has some great tips for aspiring lawyers across the Group. She says, “I would strongly recommend that they put their head above the parapet, find things that interest them outside of work that will make them stand out from the crowd, and that they establish a strong network around themselves. And also, just be really open to any opportunities that come their way. Not to say yes all the time, because we have to be very precious with our time, but often saying yes to things that will open other doors that you didn’t think it would lead to – those would be my top tips, really.”