Switalskis Solicitors > Wakefield, England > Firm Profile

Switalskis Solicitors
19 CHEAPSIDE
WAKEFIELD
WF1 2SD
England

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general Tier 2

Switalskis Solicitors' criminal law department has a strong track record acting for vulnerable individuals with mental health issues, and it is also noted for its involvement in adult abuse and child abuse claims, which complement its strong criminal defence expertise. Practice head Michael Devlin is a qualified CLAS Duty Solicitor and has higher rights of audience, undertaking his own advocacy wherever possible. He is also knowledgeable about the nuances involved in representing mentally disordered offenders. Barrister Jim Littlehales is experienced in complex cases involving murder, fraud, money laundering and large-scale drugs offences.

Practice head(s):

Michael Devlin

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Experience, approachable, thorough.’

‘Commitment and preparation.’

Insurance > Clinical negligence and personal injury: claimant

At Switalskis Solicitors, Suzanne Munroe leads the clinical negligence team, which 'has developed into a major force in Yorkshire'. Mark Hollinghurst leads the brain injury and serious injury unit, while David Greenwood is head of child abuse claims. The clinical negligence team expertly handles cases involving neurological issues, Erbs palsy, still birth, amputation and inquest cases. The firm's expertise also covers traumatic brain damage, orthopaedic matters, amputations, fatal claims and Criminal Injury Compensation Authority applications. Other areas of specialism include road traffic collisions, cycling accidents and workplace incidents. Director Janet Baker, who is highly regarded for cases involving cerebral palsy, leads a specialist medical negligence team in the Sheffield office; director Sarah Tipton Walker and chartered legal executive Sian Morris are other key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Munroe; Janet Baker; Mark Hollinghurst; David Greenwood

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team at Switalskis are hardworking and seem to do everything with a client focused and high ethical standard. They are champions for those who have been abused and mistreated. They speak truth to power and seek justice for those who have been harmed by the powerful.’

‘The team is led by Suzanne Munroe, who is wonderful and leads by example. The whole team is professional, hard working and approachable .The staff – from legal administration to paralegals and associates – are all wonderful.’

‘Suzanne Munroe is a highly respected team leader, and whose team has now developed into a major force in clinical negligence in Yorkshire. The team has excellent diversity and collaborates really well together, as the senior partners ensure that the more junior lawyers are well trained and gain as much experience as possible early on in their careers.’

‘Mark Hollinghurst is completely dedicated to his clients. Always in command of the detail and following up avenues that others might not.’

‘Fantastic client focused team who really deliver for their clients.’

‘Sian Morris is extremely capable in handling big and complex claims quietly and efficiently, but with great precision, and deft client management.’

‘Janet Baker is a without a doubt the most skilled and experienced specialist in cerebral palsy work in Yorkshire, if not nationally. She continues to run and win the most difficult cases.’

‘The Sheffield office is superb. It has gone from strength to strength during the pandemic and has retained its sense of purpose and cohesion.’

Private client > Family: elsewhere in Yorkshire Tier 2

The 'professional and very knowledgeable' family offering at Switalskis Solicitors includes Clare Peckett in Wakefield, as well as child care law specialists Razia Jogi, Lorrette Law and Louise Noblet in Bradford, York and Leeds respectively. The team has established a strong reputation for divorce, finance and children law matters, pre-nuptials, cohabitation agreements and domestic violence issues. The firm places a strong emphasis on taking a less adversarial approach and is particularly known for its work in alternative dispute resolution. Collaborative lawyers Alison Kitchman in Doncaster and Toby Netting in Sheffield are other key members of the team. The firm significantly expanded its Sheffield presence in summer 2021 with the acquisition of a team from Keebles, including senior solicitor Joe Bartlett.

Practice head(s):

Clare Peckett; Razia Jogi; Lorrette Law; Louise Noblet

Testimonials

‘I would have no hesitation in recommending this firm to anyone. The partners and staff are professional and very knowledgeable. They have the ability to communicate electronically but are quite happy for face to face contact which gives the feeling of a more human touch. Collaboration was offered to me but due to the other party’s stance we were unable to go down this route. Costs and billing are clear and prompt.’

‘Alison Kitchman was recommended to me and she did not disappoint. Right from the initial meeting Alison was very clear about the divorce process and what the probable outcomes would be. She was very accurate. Nothing is too much trouble for Alison, she is professional but with a human touch. I can honestly say that without her help I would have been lost in a legal minefield.’

‘Alison Kitchman and Toby Netting are excellent and committed collaborative family lawyers. Alison in particular is known to offer a first rate service to her clients and is often instructed in complex cases. ’

‘Alison Kitchman has a reassuringly calm, constructive approach to her representation which belies her intellect and attention to detail. She is incredibly well respected and attracts high quality cases. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending her. ’

‘Alison Kitchman is compassionate and trusted family lawyer with immense experience and keen advocate of alternate dispute resolution that places the interests of the family at the heart of all decision making. ’

Having collaborated with two of their lawyers, Toby Netting and Alison Kitchman, whom are both collaborative divorce lawyers, I have to say that they are exemplary in their roles and the way the assist and serve their clients to the best of their ability. ’

‘They have excellent inter-personal skills, in order to provide excellent customer service. They have empathy compassion, a great depth of knowledge and understanding of the role they play and this renders them capable of doing the best they can for the people that approach them for assistance in the divorce process. Alison Kitchman is also a part time Coroner. However, my experience of knowing Alison and Toby means that I could not think of two better people to help clients in distress whom are seeking a legal separation, divorce or require any further help.’

Private client > Court of protection Tier 3

Based in Huddersfield and York, the court of protection team at Switalskis Solicitors is particularly recommended for its work on health and welfare matters. It has a strong reputation for dealing with complex mental capacity and welfare cases and deprivation of liberty challenges alongside its work on contentious community care matters. Recently it has increasingly been advising on a range of other matters such as forced marriage protection orders. Head of team is Solicitor Advocate Alison Kaye who advises on a myriad of complex issues such as consent to sexual relationships and deprivation of liberty issues. Michael Kennedy is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Alison Kaye

Other key lawyers:

Michael Kennedy; Danielle Smithurst

Testimonials

There are named members of staff that we can ring for advice. Any 21a referrals we pass to them we know they will be dealt with in a professional manner and we will be kept updated with relevant information. Alison Kaye has over a number of years provided awareness training over changes in legislation and is available to answer our queries and questions. We have also relied on Michael Kennedy for support and guidance‘.

‘Switalskis has a well established and respected Court of Protection Team. There is good knowledge and skill across the whole team, with a structured set up involving paralegals. Alison Kaye: A very experienced and respected solicitor. She really takes the time to get to know her clients. Danielle Smithurst: A talented solicitor who works extremely hard for her clients. Danielle puts all her energies into her cases to ensure the best possible outcome for her clients’.

‘Switalskis solicitors practice is an exceptional practice that is proactive from start to finish of a case and always updates me every step of the way which is important for me and the client. It is no trouble for them to explain what is going on in the case. For me what makes the individuals stand out is the fact they do not keep you waiting, they get back to you straight away they do not keep you waiting. They always update you about the case and when the case is over they let you know‘.

Work highlights

  • Acting in a Court of Protection matter where Switalskis Solicitors acted for the protected party (AG) in the proceedings with Alison Kaye acting as Accredited Legal Representative.
  • Acting in a matter in the Court of Protection in Leeds where Alison Kaye represented DK by way of her litigation friend the Official Solicitor.

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 across 11 locations in North, West and South Yorkshire.

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. Now one of Yorkshire’s largest legal firms, 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 covering matters relating to both health and welfare and property and finances. 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 and even the North of England, for the quality and scope of the work they carry out.

The clinical negligence department 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 department 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 and property and finance matters. The recently expanded property and finance arm of the department now includes a Court of Protection panel deputy. 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: Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Sheffield, York, Doncaster, Knaresborough, Boston Spa, Pontefract and Honley.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
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 Janet Baker
Clinical negligence Sarah Tipton Walker
Conveyancing Sarah Cookson
Child abuse compensation David Greenwood
Mental health law and COP Michael Kennedy
Brain injury and serious injury Mark Hollinghurst
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Ms Amy Clowrey photo Ms Amy ClowreyAssociate Solicitor
Mr David Greenwood photo Mr David GreenwoodDirector & Solicitor
Number of UK partners : 22
Number of other UK fee-earners : 126