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It is not every year that you make history in your firm, but 2012 has been significant for both Alison Eddy (scroll down for video interview) and Irwin Mitchell.
The firm has set out its stall to embrace the possibilities of ABS and in making Eddy the new London managing partner, has also appointed its first female into a senior management position. Eddy sits on the firm’s diversity board and it is one of her passions. “I was really pleased we won The Lawyer Workplace and Diversity award as it is important for the retention of talented women to have role models,” says Eddy.
Her enthusiasm for the figurehead position is matched by her passion for her practice. As head of clinical negligence at the litigation-heavy firm, Eddy is determined to lead the fight for her clients from the front line.
“It takes an increasing amount of my time, but I enjoy leading the office, there’s so much opportunity. I wouldn’t want to only do management. My heart is in making a difference to people’s lives,” she says.
Record examples this year have included securing a £17m award and early interim rehabilitation to cover the lifetime care and support for a 19-year-old left with catastrophic brain injuries after being mown down by an out-of-control car. Another was a £10m award for a brain-damaged baby.
Eddy is excited about being at the City office helm as the firm looks to “embrace the change” and develop a more balanced business. And she has strong views on the imminent changes to cost and funding arrangements in the personal injury sector.
“The Government has gone too quickly,” Eddy warns. “Firms like ours will continue to thrive, but some won’t be able to continue without legal aid and that will create instability in the market.”
Irwin Mitchell will prioritise bringing in £50m of external funding this year (2013) as it continues to diversify. Expect Eddy to lead from the front.