I am a Senior Associate Legal Executive in the International Personal Injury team in the London office. I deal with cases that have an international element, representing people who have been injured abroad as well as foreign nationals injured while in England. I also represent people who have claims being brought against them in England. Most of my cases involve issues of jurisdiction and applicable law. Being a French and Spanish speaker, I have a special interest in cases involving the law of these countries.
In addition to my experience of English jurisdiction claims, I have many years’ experience of handling claims in a vast number of different jurisdictions in Europe and around the world. When taking on new cases, this experience helps me to consider the best jurisdiction in which to pursue those claims, making sure my clients secure the best possible compensation award to pay for the rehabilitation and medical treatment they will need following a serious accident.
I help people who've been involved in a broad range of accidents, including road traffic accidents, accidents at work, at sea and on planes, winter sports accidents, accidents at hotels and on campsites (including claims against tour operators), accidents involving animals as well as injuries sustained as a result of clinical negligence following medical treatment abroad. The types of injury I have dealt with include complex orthopaedic injuries, amputations and brain injury as well as fatal claims.
In addition to being a qualified lawyer I am also a qualified translator and interpreter. I am fluent in French and Spanish and have a working knowledge of German and Portuguese.
What Inspired You To Get Into Law?
Before making the move into law I worked in Edinburgh as a proof reader for a French publishing company. I was then offered the chance to work in London for the Spanish partner of a small niche law firm specialised in representing British victims of accidents in Spain as well as Spanish and French victims of accidents in England. I found the legal and cross-jurisdictional challenges of the cases I was working on just as interesting as the linguistic challenges and decided that I could make good use of my linguistic skills as a lawyer. I studied law in the evenings while continuing to work full time and qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer (FCILEx).
What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?
Being able to use my language skills and knowledge of the law and procedures of other countries to help people seriously injured in accidents or who have lost loved ones as a result of an accident. Being injured in an accident abroad can have a profound effect on people, not only because they have suffered a serious injury ending up in hospital, which in itself is bad enough, but also because they are far from home, often in a country where they cannot speak the language and where the rules and procedures can be quite different and daunting to what they are used to. I find it very satisfying when people come to us and we are able to offer them reassurance and assistance by explaining how the law works in other countries, at the same time as taking away some of their worries by explaining the contents of documents and correspondence they have received, usually in a foreign language, and which they cannot understand and which is simply adding unnecessary stress at a time that is already difficult enough. Being able to do the same for Spanish and French-speaking clients injured in England is equally as rewarding.
What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?
I am involved in an area of the law that is constantly evolving, which means that the work I do is never dull. I have been involved in ground-breaking cases in the Court of Appeal and a case I am currently working on is due to be heard next year in The Supreme Court. I am fortunate to work with a team of people who come from different backgrounds with different skills and which we are able to use together to achieve the best possible results for our clients. At Irwin Mitchell we have lawyers who work in almost all areas of the law, which means that there is rarely a legal issue on which we are unable to offer assistance for our clients.
What Do You Do Away From The Office?
In my spare time I enjoy yoga, pilates and swimming. I am also a keen theatre and cinemagoer. Whenever I get the chance I like to travel abroad and, if I had more time, I would love to learn another language. I am also a keen knitter, although I keep that secret at work.
"Of top-quality" - Legal 500 2020
"Leane Shanks took the lead on our claim and she and her team, notably Gemma Richardson, have consistently supported us through the often traumatic process. Leane and Gemma’s tenacity and professionalism always gave us confidence that we’d eventually achieve a settlement. They were always available to listen to us, guide us and to reassure us. Over the years they really became part of our lives, we trusted them completely. It really has been a difficult time but we’re both so pleased that we found exactly the right people to help us. Thanks again Leane and Gemma." - 5* Trustpilot review