The British Claims Awards are set to take place on 8 June 2023 at Leonardo Royal London, St Paul’s and Switalskis are excited to announce that our head of clinical negligence department and director, Suzanne Munroe, has been nominated for Claims Director of the Year.
In light of her nomination, Clare Gooch has taken some time to talk to Suzanne about her career to date. Here are her responses to some of the questions Clare asked.
How long have you been a clinical negligence solicitor for?
I qualified in 1990 and have been a clinical negligence lawyer for over 30 years now.
Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do to ensure that we have the knowledge and experience required to provide clients with the first-class care and empathy that is required in this type of work.
How do you do what you do?
I cannot do what I do without the hard work and dedication of my team here at Switalskis. Clinical negligence claims involve a team effort, with each of us working together to deliver the best outcomes for our clients.
It goes without saying that many of the claims we assist with are sensitive and fuelled with lots of emotions and anger, particularly those claims that relate to brain injured children or the loss of a baby. As lawyers we play a crucial role in many families’ lives. Not only are we their lawyer but we become their confidante and their voice, which is extremely important as it provides the families with a platform. I also feel strongly that we do need to try and work collaboratively where we can with the lawyers who represent the defendants to achieve what our clients need and, hope that by doing so we can push to effect change within the NHS to deliver better patient safety and outcomes for all.
What do you think makes a successful lawyer?
Professionalism, empathy and pragmatism.
Each and every one of us is human and will have experienced different events in our own lives that make us who we are. As a lawyer, I believe it’s a balancing act of remaining professional but empathetic throughout a claim. It is important that we listen to our clients – taking account of their needs, their concerns and their goals in bringing a claim. It is also important we understand their feelings and where they come from. However, it can often be hard to separate our own emotions from our responsibilities. I have learnt over the years to keep my emotions and my personal opinions separate and I make sure that I remain professional throughout – not allowing my personal views to overshadow my job of being a lawyer and a leader. I try to be pragmatic in my approach, again to ensure I achieve the best possible outcomes for my clients and to ensure that my team delivers the best client care.
We would like to take this time to thank Suzanne and her team for their continued hard work and support at Switalskis. We wish her the very best of luck for the awards.