The field of law is a competitive one in which to build a successful career, but all the more lucrative for it. According to the Law Society, over 30,000 students applied to study undergraduate law in the UK, even against a backdrop of decreasing roles and availability. Medical negligence is arguably one of the most competitive and lucrative niches within law – but how does one become a medical negligence solicitor?
What is Medical Negligence Law?
Medical negligence law describes a key niche within the wider study of law, relating to the malpractice of doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and healthcare bodies. Medical negligence occurs where a medical practitioner fails in their duty of care to a given patient – otherwise known as ‘dereliction’. This can happen in a number of ways, from the misdiagnosis of a condition to the negligent injury of a patient during surgery.
Medical negligence solicitors seek civil compensation for claimants through legal avenues, by settling with medical defence bodies or representatives, or taking the case to court proceedings. Medical negligence solicitors, then, are required to specialise in tort law relating to duty of care, as well as niche understandings of the medical system.
In order to become a solicitor of any niche or specialism, it is typically required that you obtain a degree and pass SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination) assessment. The degree must be based in law, or must be accompanied by a post-graduate law conversion qualification.
In order to better serve as a medical negligence solicitor, additional qualifications reflecting a better understanding of medical science and biology can be helpful. This might be achieved through taking specific modules relating to healthcare law, or by taking a law conversion following a degree that covers healthcare – such as global health.
Work Experience and Non-Academic Routes
Even after qualifying, you will need to spend upwards of two years gaining active work experience with an established firm. Work experience is also a viable route to qualification as a solicitor without degree qualification – but this route also requires study, assessment and a much longer timeframe. For a medical negligence solicitor, this may involve providing administrative assistance to a no-win-no-fee firm.
Essential Stand-Out Skills
In order to maximise your chances of placing as a medical negligence solicitor with a reputable firm, you will need to be able to demonstrate some core skills, as well as some unique skills that place you above and beyond your competition. Empathy and understanding are core requirements, as claimants are invariably victims of an unjust situation. Indeed, people skills of any kind are highly useful in malpractice firms.