My name’s Jen Shipley and I'm an associate solicitor in the Medical Negligence team.
My clients inspire me every single day and I feel so proud to be able to support them. To me, it means everything. It's what I've wanted to do throughout my entire career and it's the best thing about my job.
Giving my clients a brighter future
I help a variety of people from different backgrounds and with very different needs. They’ve often suffered because of medical negligence, whether that’s in hospital or at their GP surgery. My role is to help them claim compensation so they can move forward with their lives.
The job can be quite stressful because people's lives are in your hands, and you’re trying to secure their future. It’s a big pressure, but taking it step by step really helps. There’s no better feeling than being able to tell your client their case has settled after years of fighting. Knowing that I’ve played a small part in helping to make their future brighter always gives me goosebumps.
I joined the firm as a paralegal in 2012 after completing my law degree and the LPC. I remember researching Irwin Mitchell and it just aligned with my values. The focus on helping clients really attracted me.
Since then, I’ve progressed from a paralegal to an associate and the firm has supported me every step of the way. They really encourage their colleagues to progress and nurture their talents – it’s incredible and very unique.
My first case as a newly qualified solicitor was representing a woman who’d suffered life changing injuries due to sepsis. The case took four years to resolve and it settled four days before trial. During that time, I got to know the client and her family really well. I was even invited to their wedding, which was an amazing thing to be able to do and share with her.
An extended family
I feel so proud to be able to help my clients. To me, it means everything, it's what I've wanted to do throughout my entire career and it’s the reason I come to work every day. I know it sounds a bit cliché but truly I absolutely love it and I'm so privileged to do it.
I don't think a day goes by when I don't think, wow, look, I'm helping someone, they rely on me supporting them, and it means so much to me to be able to do that.
My colleagues are so important to me, and my team feels like an extended family. We share the same values and work closely together. Any settlement is testament to our team approach, because without teamwork, nothing would be possible.
Having a team around us is what makes everything work because without every single colleague nothing would be possible. From litigation assistants who are there every step of the way, to our paralegals who work tirelessly to support an ongoing case.
The culture here is so supportive and everyone’s in it together, which really reflects the positive ethos of the firm and the success we achieve and celebrate as a team when we make a difference to a client’s life.
Flexibility and freedom
The flexible-by-choice policy works for me, because I prefer to work outside the typical nine-to-five. I enjoy working on Sundays because I don’t get interrupted by emails and I feel more productive. It then gives me the freedom to take my dog for a walk during the week.
At times, achieving a good work life balance can be challenging because I love working and want to do the best for my clients. I do sometimes work extra hours, but I’m glad I have the freedom to do this flexibly.
Taking a leap
I started my journey on LinkedIn during the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, I was really nervous about posting because I was worried that my views wouldn’t be accepted. But I took the plunge, and I was met with resounding support from the LinkedIn community.
It’s such a supportive social media platform. I’ve not only gained experience from doing something different, but I’ve also connected with so many like-minded people, and even gained new clients. It’s opened doors for me both professionally and personally, and I can't recommend it enough. If I can help just one person with my posts, it’s entirely worth it.
Work for us
The legal profession is incredibly competitive to get into, but please don’t be demoralised if you’re faced with rejection. Keep persevering and you will achieve your dreams.
I’d highly recommend working here. It’s a family environment, which is flexible, supportive, and inclusive. I see myself enjoying the rest of my career here, which speaks volumes about what a great place it is to work.
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