In conversation with Laura Cates: Promoted as part of the Swits Career Programme
By Laura Cates
We caught up with Laura Cates, associate solicitor in our medical negligence team. Laura's work placement led to a training contacts and subsequent promotion on the Swits Career Development Programme.
"I enjoy hybrid working. When I am in the office, I use this as time to speak with colleagues about their thoughts on cases and anything relevant within the news for example, a judgment. When I am at home, I use this time to complete detailed pieces of work without the distraction of the office. I’m also able to get out on a lunch time to walk my Sproodle!"
Have you always wanted to be a lawyer?
I always thought I'd become a teacher growing up but during secondary school I became more interested in law due to personal circumstances. At A Level, I chose subjects which complimented the law - Law, Psychology and Philosophy and Ethics. I then found the degree at Northumbria University that also taught you practically how things work in the real world.
What's been your career story so far?
I attended Northumbria University between 2012 and 2016 and received a Masters in Law. In April 2014, during my second year of university, I completed a one-week work experience placement at Pryers Solicitors (now Switalskis) in York. I worked on various ongoing cases in the firm, attended a telephone hearing and I had the opportunity to look at and discuss various court documents which later helped with my assessment for Tort, Litigation and Evidence.
In August 2016, after graduating, I joined Pryers on a permanent basis. I started in the firm as a paralegal working in the New Enquiry team which involved being the first point of contact for those thinking about making a clinical negligence claim, discussing funding agreements and reviewing investigation reports and medical records.
In November 2017, I moved into Carmel Walsh's team working on my own caseload while assisting senior members of the team with claims involving complex issues, including birth injuries.
In January 2019, I started my training contract and qualified as a solicitor in July 2020.
In January 2023, I was promoted to an Associate Solicitor as part of the Switalskis Career Development Programme.
Tell us about your typical day
No two days are the same! I usually start by going through my emails, dealing with anything urgent before starting on the tasks I need to do for that particular day.
The area of medical negligence is really interesting, combining both medicine and the law. I think it's really important seeking answers for those who are bringing a claim for themselves or a loved one. It's also really rewarding seeing how compensation can help them moving forward once a claim has settled.
I enjoy hybrid working. When I am in the office, I use this as time to speak with colleagues about their thoughts on cases and anything relevant within the news for example, a judgment. When I am at home, I use this time to complete detailed pieces of work without the distraction of the office. I’m also able to get out on a lunch time to walk my Sproodle!