Switalskis Solicitors > Huddersfield, England > Firm Profile
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Switalskis Solicitors > The Legal 500 Rankings
Private client > Family: elsewhere in Yorkshire Tier 1
The family offering at Switalskis Solicitors is headed up by various partners across its Yorkshire offices, including Clare Peckett in Wakefield; Allan Layfield in Huddersfield; Lorrette Law in York and associate Jennifer Heckingbottom in Sheffield, who also leads a team of care and children specialists. The team’s workload consists predominantly of complex, high-value financial dispute cases involving trusts and pensions, divorce matters and child custody cases. Mediator Toby Netting, Alison Kitchman and Joe Bartlett are also key members of the family team.
Clare Peckett; Allan Layfield; Lorrette Law; Jennifer Heckingbottom
Other key lawyers:
‘Friendly & supportive team from receptionist to partner. Helpful & supportive. Highly recommended.’
‘I worked with Toby Netting over a number of years on a protracted divorce settlement. Toby was very supportive and objective in his assessment of the settlement opportunities and risks. He put up with my occasional rants with good humour, always steering me back to a rational response.’
‘Alison Kitchman is a hard working, empathetic, and knowledgeable practitioner. Clients love her. Alison tries to litigate responsibly and in a cost-effective manner.’
‘The broad spectrum of services offered by the firm in this region is excellent and the strength of its family team is really growing.’
‘Alison Kitchman is superb. I regularly refer clients to Alison because I know she will offer sensible, constructive advice as well as tough representation if court proceedings are necessary. Alison is one of few lawyers in the region that I know will offer a first-rate service to her clients.’
‘Toby Netting provides straightforward and pragmatic advice to his clients. He is always non-confrontational in his approach when dealing with solicitors for the other party.’
‘Switalskis are able to represent a wide range of clients including those eligible for legal aid and high-net-worth individuals.’
‘I enjoy working with Joe Bartlett collaboratively. He genuinely buys into the process and is committed to working as a team to help families move forward. He is particularly skilled in helping clients focus on the future rather than the past. He is a pleasure to work with in collaborative cases.’
Insurance > Clinical negligence and personal injury: claimantSwitalskis Solicitors, Suzanne Munroe leads the clinical negligence team that consists of director Sarah Tipton Walker and legal executive Sian Stevens. The group is regularly instructed on claims arising from poor standards of maternity care, including neurological injury, sepsis, Erb’s palsy, stillbirths and neonatal deaths; Natalie Cosgrove is an expert in the last of these. Mark Hollinghurst is head of the brain and serious injury department, and has developed a niche specialism in claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority relating to serious brain injury. The firm has also built a strong reputation for its work around child sexual exploitation, with the child abuse claims unit spearheaded by David Greenwood. It acts on behalf of survivors of childhood abuse and has experience in child abuse litigation relating to the church. The firm recently completed a merger with Doncaster’s Atherton Godfrey, a firm with a stellar reputation in handling child brain injury cases. The team joining as part of the merger has strong capabilities in cases relating to cerebral palsy, amputation and spinal injury. Key names include John McQuater and Diane Parker, who jointly lead the personal injury department in Doncaster, and ‘knowledgeable, courteous and professional‘ medical negligence senior associate Christopher Noble.
David Greenwood; Mark Hollinghurst; Suzanne Munroe
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Tipton Walker; Sian Stevens; Natalie Cosgrove; John McQuater; Christopher Noble; Diane Parker; Bob Allen; Julie Tansey
‘The team have a genuine understanding of the wider issues faced by families including the burden litigation is likely to have on mental health. The team took on tasks and work behind the scenes to ensure this added stress was not passed on to us as their clients.’
‘Switalskis provide motivated and insightful solicitors who regularly supply high quality instructions from an expert perspective. They are knowledgeable and experienced, as well as friendly. I regard them as a fantastic firm and certainly one of the best in their area.’
‘Particular mention to Natalie Cosgrove who is a rare beacon of hope in an otherwise dark and bleak period of our lives.’
‘Caring and professional from the get-go. Easy to get answers.’
‘Sian Stevens is an exceptional legal practitioner.’
‘All of Switalskis medical negligence team are wonderful. They genuinely care about the outcome of their clients, they are friendly and approachable and good communicators. Suzanne Munroe is excellent at leading by example, and the rest of the team follow her lead. Sarah Tipton Walker is also excellent.’
‘Mark Hollinghurst is a premier league solicitor. He has a superb knowledge of the law and his ability to digest and understand complex and extensive documentation is second to none.’
‘The team at Switalskis are a pleasure to work with. Their dedication, professionalism and efficiency is second to none. Their effective communication and meticulousness is highly sought after and effectively assists the collaborative working of all professionals involved.’
- Ongoing claim into the death of baby C. The coroner concluded that C died as a result of skull fractures caused by both attempted forceps delivery and release of a deeply impacted head at C-Section. In 2016 there had been a Review of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust by The Royal College of Obstetricians. A BBC Freedom of Information request showed that no changes had been made to maternity services in the intervening period, putting mums and babies at risk for a further 4 years. The Trust Board only released the RCOG Review on the morning of C’s inquest.
- Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has admitted to causing the stillbirth of baby H. The mother’s labour was mismanaged. The Trust’s investigation was inadequate and an external investigation had to be undertaken, but only after the parents pressured the Trust for this. It was concluded that H’s death was ‘almost certainly preventable.’ The claims settled for 2.8m in what is thought to be the largest settlement for a stillbirth claim in the UK.
- Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has admitted to causing the death of baby W. The coroner concluded that neglect had caused W’s death on the basis of a multitude of failures. The early care of the mother was littered with departures from Local and National Guidance which led to multiple missed opportunities to seek earlier medical care for baby W. Quantum investigations are ongoing as mother has sustained serious physical injuries.
Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 2Core expertise at Switalskis Solicitors spans fraud and business crime, police station representation and motoring offences, among other matters. Michael Devlin fronts the practice which demonstrates particular accomplishment in representing young people and those with mental health problems.
Other key lawyers:
Jim Littlehales; Rob Fones
Private client > Court of protection Tier 3Alison Kaye leads the ‘very responsive’ team at Switalskis Solicitors. Based in Huddersfield and York, it is is well known for its CoP work throughout Yorkshire and beyond, particularly in relation to health and welfare matters. It has a strong reputation for dealing with complex mental capacity and welfare cases, and deprivation of liberty challenges relating to Sections 15, 16 and 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Kennedy; Amandeep Dosanjh; Danielle Smithurst; Nichola Burridge-Todd
‘I have always found Switalskis very responsive when contacted. They keep the client at the centre of the proceedings, ensuring their voices are heard and rights protected. They appear to work well as a team as when one solicitor is away I am able to contact their colleague regarding the specific client’.
‘I have worked closely with Amandeep Dosanjh on a number of cases. She is great at explaining things in simple language to our clients and myself. She is very helpful and always makes time to discuss complex cases with me, sometimes giving me informal legal advice.’
‘A large, well-respected and very experienced team, with excellent practice from top to bottom.’
‘Alison Kaye works tirelessly for her clients and really gets stuck in to cases, as well as running the team. Danielle Smithurst is an exceptional solicitor who really cares about her clients. She works incredibly hard, delegates well and is extremely approachable.’
‘Switalskis Solicitors are clear leaders in the Court of Protection sphere. The team has a wealth of experience in health and welfare matters, with a number of well-respected lawyers who are supported by a very capable group of paralegals that work hard to achieve the very best outcome for their clients’.
‘There are a number of stand-out individuals at the firm including: Alison Kaye is hugely respected and determined to achieve the best for her clients. She will leave no issue unturned and has excellent client care’.
‘Nichola Burridge-Todd is an extremely experienced solicitor with a keen eye for detail, which consistently has an impact on the lives of the people she represents. She commands the trust of her clients, her briefs are excellent, and she is very easy to work with’.
‘Michael Kennedy explains processes and procedures in such a way that clients with identified needs, are able to have a good understanding. Michael gives his time to explore all options in a sensitive and patient manner’.
- Acted for the protected party in the proceedings with Alison Kaye acting as Accredited Legal Representative.
- Alison Kaye represented client by way of her litigation friend the Official Solicitor.
Switalskis Solicitors > Firm Profile
Switalskis Solicitors provides expert legal advice and representation to individuals and businesses across the Yorkshire region and beyond. Switalskis prides itself on its ability to offer a comprehensive, highly personal service to clients both locally and nationally.
The firm: Established in 1993, the firm’s long-standing ethos is that all members of society should be able to access high-quality advice and representation, especially the vulnerable and those who lack a voice in the justice system. Switalskis Solicitors brings together some of the region’s most experienced lawyers, who combine their local knowledge with nationally renowned legal expertise in order to deliver a first-class service to their clients.
Switalskis’ teams offer a wide range of legal services, including family law and divorce, advice on wills and estates, criminal law, child care law and conveyancing.
The firm also offers specialist claims advice, alongside other relevant services, to clients who have suffered serious injuries or abuse, including advice on child abuse claims, clinical negligence claims, brain injury and serious injury claims. In addition, the firm has an established Court of Protection team. This combination of services allows the clinical negligence and brain injury and serious injury teams to utilise a dovetailed approach when dealing with cases which require a professional deputy or trustee.
Many of Switalskis’ directors and solicitors are nationally recognised experts within their field, leading growing teams of highly capable and ambitious lawyers. Geographic expansion has also been fundamental to the current and ongoing commercial success of the firm, as the directors have overseen a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years.
Types of work undertaken: Headed up by recognised experts in their field, Switalskis’ specialist clinical negligence, brain injury and serious injury, Court of Protection, child abuse claims and child care law departments have built up reputations reaching far beyond Yorkshire for the quality and scope of the work they carry out.
The clinical negligence team has particular experience and expertise in the area of complex birth injury claims, including cerebral palsy claims. The notably large team also deals with a wide range of claims relating to injuries suffered as a result of medical negligence, including complex neurological claims, orthopaedic claims, oncology claims, psychiatric claims and fatal claims, as well as providing expert representation at inquests.
The recently acquired brain injury and serious injury team specialises in complex brain injury claims, including acting on behalf of clients who are in a minimally conscious state (MCS). The team works closely with clients, their families and those involved in their care with the aim of providing the maximum rehabilitation and support.
Switalskis’ Court of Protection team is renowned for dealing with complex mental capacity and welfare cases and deprivation of liberty challenges in the Court of Protection, alongside community care challenges. The department has particular expertise in assisting people who are affected by learning disabilities, autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, mental health issues, acquired brain injuries, behavioural needs and communication difficulties.
As a testament to the important and far-reaching nature of the work of Switalskis’ child abuse claims department, the team is regularly instructed to act on behalf of survivors in high-profile cases, including representing victims of the widely reported Rotherham CSE scandal. The team deals with compensation claims relating to child sexual exploitation and abuse against a wide range of organisations and individuals, including local authorities, private care homes and the church.
Other offices: Bradford, Doncaster, Honley, Huddersfield, Leeds, London, Knaresborough, Pontefract, Sheffield and York.
|Managing director||John Durkan|
|Family and child care||Clare Peckett|
|Family and child care||Razia Jogi|
|Family and child care||Lorrette Law|
|Family and child care||Louise Noblet|
|Clinical negligence||Suzanne Munroe|
|Clinical negligence||Sarah Tipton Walker|
|Child abuse compensation||David Greenwood|
|Mental health law and COP||Michael Kennedy|
|Brain injury and serious injury||Mark Hollinghurst|
Staff FiguresNumber of UK partners : 22 Number of other UK fee-earners : 126
We are committed to creating a fair and inclusive environment for all employees, clients and visitors. Respect, equality and inclusion is central to the ethos of the Switalskis group and forms the heart of our firm’s values.
We commissioned a review of our working practices to address any areas that we feel were working well and to identify how as a business we could implement better practice.
The paper identified the need to name a new ED&I Lead, who would assume responsibility for strategy relating to policy, standards being met and monitoring as necessary. With our new Head of People (HR), we are rolling out an ED&I Steering Group to drive activity and visibility across the group. Such involvement will be available to all employees and will be driven by our new interactive SwitsHub (intranet).
We have updated our policy so that it shows our commitment to include a specific Trans and non-binary inclusion policy. We encourage individuality and choice.
As demonstrated in our gender pay report, we pride ourselves in equality throughout our business.
We are actively reviewing our recruitment policy to ensure it is progressive and remains in line with our ethos. We recognise contextualised recruitment may assist in uncovering external factors that may have contributed to a candidate’s grades and experience to assist in identifying self-motivated, driven, outperformers. The fact that an individual has overcome many barriers to achieve a certain outcome demonstrates they might well have performed even better if those barriers were removed. We are a business who welcome applications from minority sectors that otherwise may not feel they are afforded the same opportunities.
We are keen and proud to continue supporting our community. Examples of the support include:
- In sponsored partnership with Paces Sheffield – a specialist Yorkshire-based charity, centre, and school for individuals with cerebral palsy and motor disorders
- Bradford City Football Club women – player sponsorship
- We are actively involved with the Leeds Powerchair Football Club and the Yorkshire Powerchair Football League including sponsorship of the team’s kit
- We support Aspirations Day at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Huddersfield
- We offer regular voluntary work for the UK-wide brain injury charity Headway in Barnsley
- Our colleague, Christine Griffiths is a trustee for Disability Sheffield
- Our colleague, Toby Netting hosts an annual guest lecture to Family Law undergraduates at Sheffield Hallam University
- Our colleague, Ruth Coneron supports events at Huddersfield University, inspiring and helping the next generation of family and care lawyers by speaking to students in particular to support the BAME community
- We offer Pro bono work to service users at Huddersfield University Family Law clinic, whilst allowing students to shadow the team in particular to support the BAME community.
Our people are our greatest asset to a successful business and we recognise that in order to achieve equality, diversity and inclusion for all we must strive for progression and thus create fairness for all