I joined Irwin Mitchell in 2005 and am very proud to have progressed from a Secretary to a Senior Associate Solicitor. I have over 18 years of legal experience supporting clients following a life changing diagnosis of mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, work related cancers and other respiratory diseases.
I've successfully represented clients who have sustained occupational, environmental and also secondary exposure to asbestos and my technical skills and attention to detail ensure complex cases involving exposure to asbestos are hard fought and won.
I've recovered more than £2 million in damages for Claimants in one year and recovered over £1million in damages solely for non NHS funded immunotherapy treatment for clients following a mesothelioma diagnosis. I also importantly support clients through the private treatment process and have been innovative in creating flexible payment mechanisms with private healthcare providers.
I also importantly support clients and their families to access care packages and rehabilitation treatment in order to help them remain fit for future treatment following a diagnosis of mesothelioma.
I have successfully taken claims to Trial when necessary and I acted for the Claimant in “Magill v Panel Systems (DB Limited)” which involved complex arguments in relation to medical evidence and how to value a civil claim. Following submission of our evidence, the court rejected the Defendants untraditional approach to calculating the claim and halted future challenges which could limit recovery for Claimants in these types of cases.
I’m recognised by my clients for my expert hand and human touch. My client, Rose Hall, commented that Without Nicola’s support I think I’d have just given up, which I did say to her many times I’d like to. She was a fighter and told me to keep going, which we did. Her support has been tremendous.
Another client, Bob McBratney shared his story in order to support others following a mesothelioma diagnosis.
I'm focused and effective in supporting charities nationally and regionally to raise awareness of asbestos related diseases, lung cancer and respiratory conditions. I regularly develop and produce podcasts and articles to support people and professionals following a diagnosis of an asbestos related disease, lung cancer or respiratory conditions.
Listen to the Irwin Mitchell podcast Episode 61 with the support of Mesothelioma UK Research Centre
I am also a Trustee for Lung Cancer Nursing UK and I am passionate about supporting the NHS workforce particularly in these challenging times. I also regularly provide free educational session to healthcare professionals and support national and regional events for patient and professionals.
I lead the racial diversity and inclusion group in Leeds which provides support to colleagues and local communities. I regularly mentor and support colleagues and I also featured in the firm’s #LifeAtIM campaign to raise the importance of flexible working when caring for loved ones with a life limiting conditions.
What Inspired You To Get Into Law?
Working within a firm that’s diverse and inclusive is hugely important to me. I feel that I’m making a change not just for my generation, but for my children’s generation as well. When I was younger, my dad said to me “you’ve got to work twice as hard, you’re black and you’re a woman.” And it shouldn’t have to be that way. Working here, there are lots of individuals that inspire everybody to be the best that they can be and you’re really listened to.
What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?
I’ve always enjoyed standing up for people and using the law to make sure there’s some fairness in the world. There are so many different areas of law that can help clients get the support they need.
For me, it’s about supporting clients following a life-changing diagnosis of mesothelioma and trying to make a positive difference. Dealing with an incurable cancer can be so challenging for my clients and their family and it’s my job to do everything I can to get them the care, treatment and financial support that they need. It’s hugely rewarding when you can achieve that given everything they’re going through - that’s the human touch that matters to me.
I’ve always enjoyed working within a team and being collaborative because we challenge one another, and learn and grow together. By making decisions and taking responsibility for our actions, we’re able to use our expertise to achieve great results and embrace change.
Having a positive work-life balance is important. It can be challenging given the clients I work with, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Work is one of my happy places; it’s what keeps me going.
What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?
I have been at the firm for over 13 years. They have supported me in every aspect through education and career progression. Irwin Mitchell continues to strive to achieve the best outcomes for their clients and also look continues to look towards the future and adapt the firm and their working methods accordingly.
What Do You Do Away From The Office?
I enjoy walking the dog, going to the gym and spending time with my friends and family. I am also actively involved with a number charities nationally and regionally and enjoy providing support and assistance in relation to a variety of activities on a regular basis.
"Our Contact Nichola Handley at Irwin Mitchell has been professional, diligent and always ready to answer my questions in a clear, understandable language. Nichola and her team have given all to reaching a mutual and acceptable settlement and I would have no hesitation in recommending her and all at Irwin Mitchell to anyone I know in similar circumstances to mine." - 5* Trustpilot review
"I am very happy and pleased with the help and assistance displayed by Nicola Handley my solicitor regarding my Asbestosis case. The caring and understanding she offered throughout the whole process was comforting and caring. I never felt under pressure or concerned during the months of contact with Nicola discussing issues. Nicola Handley is a credit to Irwin Mitchell solicitors." - 5* Trustpilot review
“Irwin Mitchell dealt with my mother’s industrial illness claim regarding my late father. We would like to thank the solicitor, Nicola Handley, for dealing with the case in a professional and sympathetic manner. Throughout the sometimes complex process, Nicola was very knowledgeable and always available to answer any questions and explain procedures we didn't understand. We would highly recommend Nicola and Irwin Mitchell.” – 5* Trustpilot review
"Nicola Handley at the Leeds office has been outstanding from the off... Nicola has guided me expertly through the whole process and has supported me when my illness has made life tough. Her attention to detail, communication, thoroughness and kindness throughout my claim has made the whole process a pleasant experience. Not only did Nicola achieve a substantial sum for me and my family she also negotiated large regular sums to pay for the best private treatment currently available... I would heartily recommend Irwin Mitchell, a large firm with tremendous resources but with a very personal touch." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Nicola Handley was the Irwin Mitchell Solicitor that dealt with my father’s case. From start to finish Nicola has been very professional and thorough. When my father passed away and the case had to be continued it was done so with compassion and empathy but always striving for the best outcome Thank you for making a very difficult situation go smoothly" - 5* Trustpilot review
"As a family, we cannot speak highly enough regarding Nicola Handley and Ian Toft, and the rest of the IM team that looked after us, after the sad passing of our Mother. Right from the start, they dealt with our family incredibly sensitively and professionally, and were always on hand to answer any questions we may have had, throughout some very hard and emotional times..."- Client (read full 5* Trustpilot review)
"After feeling very apprehensive on starting my legal claim, I was introduced to Nicola Handley from Irwin Mitchell solicitors who was appointed my solicitor and assisted me all the way to a successful conclusion. I have been guided with her integrity, professionalism and kindness, her knowledge in this field has made this distressing time much more bearable. I have never had any problems in contacting Nicola or any of the team by phone or email." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Special thanks to Nicola Handley for the compassionate, dedicated and professional way she has dealt with the claim. She has been amazingly relentless and supportive." – Former client
"We engaged Irwin Mitchell to pursue a claim on behalf of my father-in-law, who tragically died from mesothelioma. At all stages of the process the team demonstrated exceptional skills, experience, professionalism and empathy. I would strongly recommend Irwin Mitchell to anyone who is thinking of pursuing a compensation claim for Mesothelioma or any other occupational illness and injury." – Client