27 Sep 2021

News

Introducing our NEW Partners: Victoria Smithyman

We are delighted to confirm the appointment of four new partners within the firm, as we continue to grow and strengthen our team. Over the next few weeks, we'll take the time to find out a little more about each of our new appointees, from their journey to #TeamHE to the advice they'd give to someone looking to carve out a career in law.

Next up, we meet Victoria Smithyman, Partner and Head of our Personal Injury team!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am a Personal Injury specialist, having worked in this sector since 2002, both representing the injured person and businesses against whom a claim has been made.  It is great to have had the experience acting for all parties in personal injury as I think it helps bring a more balanced view.

I come from Kent originally and at 18 decided to move to Wales to study Law at the University of Aberystwth and qualified as a Solicitor in 2009.

Outside of work, I am teaching myself to sew, which is great because it means I am using my brain in a different way. Sewing often involves working back to front and inside out which is a real challenge but I love that sense of achievement when I have made something.

What was it that attracted you to a career in law?

For me it is the analysis and interpretation involved in the law as well as the opportunity to help people.  Every case is different and you have to investigate and understand the individual issues, the law that applies and how to help that person.

Do you have a career highlight?

The biggest highlight of my career has been qualifying as a Solicitor.  From as early as 13 I had focussed on a legal career, picking GCSE’s and A-Levels accordingly.  So after all the exams and hard work, to finally qualify and be accepted onto the Roll of Solicitors felt like such a huge achievement, because I had been working towards that goal for so long.

Describe a typical day as a Partner in the Dispute Resolution team…

Every day is different and that keeps me on my toes.  I have a great team around me which makes my life easier.  I handle a full case load of Personal Injury claims, mainly high value and complex cases.  As well as this I manage and supervise my team, play an active role in the development of IT systems, marketing and all compliance matters relating to personal injury.

What attracted you to Harding Evans?

Harding Evans has a really family feel about it. I have worked in very large national and international firms and other than the people in your immediate team or department, you tend not to get to know anyone else.  Here it is different, everyone knows each other and everyone is willing to help one another.  For example, I may have a case where an insolvency issue crops up or an employment query and I know that my colleagues in those departments are more than happy to assist.

Also, we aim to provide help to everyone across most areas of law, so it is great as a firm they can offer the whole package.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career similar to your own?

I think it is important to undertake as much research as you can when you first start thinking about law.  There are lots of different routes you can take (and not necessarily just through university, for example there are legal apprenticeships and the Cilex qualification, as well as the fact that you do not necessarily have to study a law degree) and all with different costs and earning potentials. There are also lots of areas of law you can specialise in, no sub specialism is the same.

Try to obtain as much exposure and work experience as possible to get a feel for working in the legal field and areas you think you may enjoy and you can then tailor your degree modules or employment into areas which suit you best. The Law Society offers some useful advice to prospective lawyers.

The great thing about working in the law, is there is never a dull moment!

 

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