I qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and am now Lead Partner for Medical Negligence in Newcastle and Leeds. I have always specialised in medical law handling an array of cases involving cerebral palsy, cauda equine, Erbs Palsy, amputation and sepsis issues amongst others.
I have obtained over £80 million in damages for clients and families, but realise its not just a matter of obtaining damages but helping clients get answers as to what happened and support their rehabilitation. To many this is far more important than the award of damages.
My clients and their objectives for pursuing cases are my primary concern.
"Sarah Coles – outstanding in her own work and in mentoring and bringing on others in the team" - Legal 500, 2023
"Sarah Coles (Team Leader – Newcastle) – accomplished lawyer and wonderful mentor / leader to the team." - Legal 500, 2023
"Extremely empathetic, efficient, compassionate and has a wealth of knowledge... A very good lawyer." - Chambers & Partners, 2022 (Leading Individual - Band 3)
"[She has] created a team that consistently succeeds in getting impressive settlements over a spectrum of cases, but particularly in higher value brain injury, genetic birth injury and oncology cases." – Legal 500, 2021
"She fights fiercely for her clients while effortlessly combining a compassionate relationship with a high degree of pragmatism." – Chambers & Partners, 2021 (Leading Individual – Band 3)
"She is an efficient and pragmatic lawyer who gets the job done, but she is also a delightful person who is a pleasure to work with and has huge empathy with her clients." - Chambers & Partners, 2019
"Sensible, empathetic and highly effective in all her dealings with clients and opponents alike." - Chambers & Partners, 2018
"Very experienced" - Legal 500, 2017
“Sarah Coles and Kimberley Nightingale have been both empathetic and supportive throughout the duration of the case. Sarah and Kimberley provide excellent professional advice and their knowledge is exceptional. The speed of response and the provision of information is amazing. I cannot thank them enough for their constant guidance. I would be more than happy to recommend their services.” - 5* Trustpilot review
"Sarah Coles and her team have been extremely supportive from day one of the process. Sarah has advised clearly every step of the way and kept us up to date with all reports and meetings with specialists in respect of our case. Sarah has been extremely empathetic and accessible throughout and we are very grateful to have her representation." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Throughout the process of my clinical negligence claim, Sarah and her team of Katie Warner and Tracy Tai, have been superb. All of my questions in relation to the care and treatment Pam received in hospital were answered by the brilliant experts that were employed to do the investigations. I have recently been offered and received a very substantial compensation as a result of all the hard work carried out by Sarah and her team." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Sarah Cole and her team have been so supportive throughout our 8.5 years of working with them. We have been kept up to date at all times and they have listened to us regarding concerns and issues. They have been like part of our family. We have appreciated all the hard work they have done towards our sons case and know we have been in good hands regarding their expertise and knowledge. We would recommend Irwin Mitchell Leeds to anyone in our situation." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Sarah Coles was my first point of contact and has been right though until the end of the court case. I cannot thank Sarah Coles and Irwin Mitchell enough for everything they have done for our son and my family.
"Sarah is a very experienced solicitor who put me at ease and instantly gained my trust. She showed compassion and understanding to not only to our son but also to us as a family." - Danielle Gough, client (read full 5* Trustpilot review)
"We couldn't thank Sarah Coles and Tracy enough who have been dealing with our claim for the past 3 years! They both have made sure we have been updated every step of the way and answered any questions we have had with a very fast response. We now feel we have had a massive weight lifted of our shoulders and can now finally look to the future with our little boy and that's all thank to Sarah and her team! We will be forever grateful to Sarah." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Sarah Coles has been our solicitor for the last 7 years and was very successful in settling our case. It had been a very difficult time for all the family throughout what was a very long and arduous time but throughout Sarah worked above and beyond, was a true professional, and always put our interests first.
"Sarah's compassion, insight and empathy were second to none and she is in herself an amazing role model to everyone around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah and her team to anyone who finds themselves requiring their services." - Julie, client
"Irwin Mitchell pursued a medical negligence case for my daughter's birth and we had full support all the way from Sarah Coles and the team. I feel that the company go that extra mile to always keep you informed of progress. My family and I are more than happy with the services that were provided throughout the case - we would definitely use Irwin Mitchell again and would also recommend to others." - Stacey Keira Perkins, client
What Inspired You To Get Into Law?
From a very young age I either wanted to be a policewoman or a lawyer as I wanted to help others and stop injustice. I chose Law as an A Level and loved it, so went on to study at Hull University and never looked back.
What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?
It is often difficult to prove a successful claim in the complex area of medical law and not all cases successfully recover damages. However, what is often more rewarding is helping families understand what happened and to reassure them it wasn’t their fault, they couldn’t have done more.
In those cases where there is an award of damages, it is amazing to see lives change and even little changes make huge differences. I have been contacted recently by a former client who was 9 years of age at the time of his case. 14 years on, he found me and wrote to me to say he is studying law because 'it is heart-warming to know you have continued to help families obtain both answers and compensation and I went into the law to help others in the way you helped me, I shall be forever grateful'. This is why I do the work I do - for my clients.
As Head of the Newcastle and Leeds Medical Negligence teams, I am so proud of my team who work so hard to support our clients day and night.
What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?
Irwin Mitchell is a superb firm with extremely talented people. I am very lucky to be surrounded by genuinely lovely people who all excel in their field and I am honoured to now head the Leeds medical negligence department.
Irwin Mitchell is also dedicated to supporting local and national charities such as Heel & Toe, UK Sepsis Trust, Leeds Power Chair Football team, West Yorkshire CANN, Cauda Equina Syndrome Association and SNAPS. These charities are incredibly important to me and make all the hard work so worthwhile.
What Do You Do Away From The Office?
I love being with my friends and family and enjoy lots of sports and happy to take part in extreme activities such as sky diving, bungee, scuba diving etc often for charity as well as fun!
I lost my nephew who was 22 as a result of depression and so now work closely with MIND and other mental health charities to raise funds, recently completing the London Marathon raising over £5000 for Heads Together and MIND.
My main love is football and I am an ardent Norwich City supporter which has its own challenges!
My husband and I are now proud owners of Ruby the Cockapoo who is adorable if not slightly crazy.