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Harima Patel, a paralegal in our serious injury team, shares her career path at Minster Law.

From my humble beginnings in the admin team in the Wakefield office to my current role as a serious injury senior paralegal, it has been a long journey, but I wouldn’t change anything. I consider myself very lucky to work for an organisation that prides itself on the personal and professional development of staff.

My first role in admin mainly involved supporting the file handlers, doing tasks such as organising their file cabinets, photocopying, filing hand copy documents and creating hand copy folders for any new claims. I would also spend a lot of time hunting down folders to move to the current file handler or confidentially destroying any folders where the case had settled and was archived.

Many people in the team were surprised that I stayed as long as I did but through this role, I formed close working relationships with my colleagues and very much enjoyed working at Minster Law.

Through my relationships and some helpful guidance and support from my then manager Josie Hill, I was encouraged to seek out some shadowing, any suitable training and to consider the varied roles within Minster Law.  I subsequently took a role with the MAPP team, which assess the value of cases, learning how their spreadsheets work and even covering a colleague on one occasion. This is where I learnt about the new claims process and all the file reviews the MAPP team does and how that adds value to the department.

But my goal was to eventually become a fee earner in serious injury and my first step was to become a paralegal. Again, my manager supported me and helped me seek out some shadowing with some file handlers and their legal assistant. I am forever grateful to Neil H, Verity Barley and Lorna Barron for their time.  I learnt a lot and built my portfolio or “HDP” as we call it.

A secondment opportunity to become part of the MAPP team soon arose so I took the leap and successfully interviewed for the position. For most of my time there I was making sure the spreadsheets were working, resolving any issues, arranged the CSC rota for our then York colleagues and with the support of our serious injury managers, Joanne Somers-Wells and Rebecca Fitton, I was able to develop my call handling skills. I was picking up any head injury claims that came through to MAPP to assess whether it was of multi-track value (above £25k). Shortly afterwards, I was asked to assist on the family legal protection line to sort through any queries that came through.

I immediately jumped at the chance to become a paralegal when the opportunity arose. All the support, shadowing, and skills I had developed were really beneficial but there was a lot I still needed to learn. With help from the team however, I was hitting my 70 units in no time.

After three years of being a paralegal though, I realised that it wasn’t for me. Although I had dabbled in some medical agency work, I just felt that I wanted to do something new. A colleague advised that the Serious Injury Management team was looking for someone to support them. On getting the role, I used to spend most of my days arranging the CSC rota, taking notes, chasing people, arranging meetings, and sorting out diaries.

However, I missed the client contact and supporting a file handler to successful outcome for the client. I moved back to being a paralegal doing what I used to do but I now pass on my knowledge and skills to other colleagues I have learned on my journey at Minster Law.

It is a real privilege to work at a firm that spends so much time and resource offering invaluable training to colleagues. I am sure that had I not had the support from every single manager and the time on my Personal Growth & Contribution Plan (PGCP), I would probably still be in the admin team looking for ways to progress.

Minster Law’s serious injury team is one of the largest in the UK, with specialists in head and brain injuries, spinal injuries, and injuries resulting in amputation and limb damage. Please visit our vacancies to see what opportunities are available in the team.