Ceri-Ann Taylor of Enable Law
I am a Managing Associate solicitor for Enable Law in Taunton, with over 15 years’ post qualification experience. I am accredited by the Law Society as a specialist in clinical negligence, with a particular sub specialism in cases where there has been a delay in diagnosis of cancer. I support various charities, who in turn support my clients with their various needs following their medical accident. At home, I’m a wife, mum, dog owner, runner and lover of sunshine, the great outdoors and chocolate!
That’s me in a nutshell. I am often asked why I chose a career in law, and if I am honest, I don’t know! At 18 years old, my boyfriend and all my mates left home and went bouncing off to university to start building their dream careers. I stayed behind, clueless about what I wanted my future to look like and reticent about spending many tens of thousands of pounds on tuition fees until I felt committed to what I wanted to achieve in life. So I stayed home, continuing my job as a carer for the elderly and disabled, which I loved. To keep my brain ticking over and to distract me from all the university fun I was missing out on, I started a distance learning course in law. A year later, I was reading law at university. I didn’t want a lifetime of debt but I was a typical student with no savings and no income. Goodness knows how I managed to persuade a very well-known high street bank to give me a mortgage, but they did. I bought my first house, became a novice renovator of property over the first summer holidays, and rented three of the bedrooms out which funded my tuition fees and university life.
Three years later with a LLB degree under my belt, I successfully undertook a post graduate diploma in Legal Practice. I continued to look after the elderly and disabled in the community, and started to get some relevant work experience with local law firms.
From there I was one of the lucky few to get a training contract, and two years later I was celebrating qualifying as a solicitor. My boyfriend and I set up home, rescued 2 cats, bought a dog, got married and when my two children came along, I felt like the luckiest person alive. If you had asked me at 18 years old, I would never have guessed that I would be enjoying a successful career, in a senior position in a fantastic firm, and be so contended in life. And despite the continuing juggling act of home and work life, and the many grey hairs that have sprouted along the way, I still have a smile!
It was a few years in to my career that I found myself acting for victims of medical accidents. I act for children, adults and families who have lost loved ones. I act for clients with a wide variety of medical problems from surgery that has gone wrong to inadvertent over-prescribing with fatal consequences. I developed a reputation for specialising in helping patients who have had a late diagnosis of cancer. A diagnosis of cancer is harrowing enough, but when you have lost the opportunity of life-saving treatment because of a late diagnosis, you become angry which makes for quite a destructive cocktail of emotions.
So although I am a lawyer by qualification, a lot of my days are spent holding my clients hands through what is often the hardest time in their lives. They are ill (often terminally), too ill to work, they lose their income, their homes, their independence. They need care and therapy which they cannot afford or access publicly. Relationships rupture, families break down. In what I find the saddest circumstances of what I do is when young children lose young parents, to cancer, avoidably. Why? Because they were “too young for cancer”. This is a phrase I hear a lot. Young people do not fit in to the NICE guidelines which would otherwise mandate a referral for cancer testing. Consequently it is often when the cancer is very advanced that it is finally picked up. By then, the treatment options have gone from curative, to palliative.
Doctors work long hours, under a lot of pressure, with limited resources. In every other walk of life, a mistake has a financial consequence only. But in the medical profession, mistakes cost lives. Much to the disbelief of many, I have the upmost respect for the medical profession. My main criticism of the profession is their apparent preference for protracted, agonising and expensive litigation, over a simple apology. I recently read an article written by a senior doctor called “Why can’t we say sorry?” Quite.
I work alongside various members of the medical profession, often those most senior and highly respected in their field of medicine. Together we identify if, and what, mistakes have been made and identify the lessons that need to be learned from them.
If the concerns about a particular doctor and the implications for patient safety are grave enough, I will involve the GMC who regulate all doctors in this country. They have the power to withdraw a doctors’ ability to practice but this is a rare repercussion; often it is a case of imposing training to improve the quality of care for their patients.
There are elements of what I do which are desperately sad. I have attended far too many funerals of clients. But I love what I do. I enable my clients to re-gain their quality of life in so far as money allows that to happen. Of course, it will never undo an injury or replace a lost loved one, but to achieve some financial comfort can go a long way. It can mean the difference between a desperate financial struggle to bring up children having lost the breadwinner of the family, and the replacement of that income. Or it can be the financing of a wheelchair bespoke to your needs. Or a carer to look after you. Or a replacement car that has a boot big enough to put your childs pushchair and your wheelchair in. Enabling somebody to get their life back on track and brighten their future is a very rewarding feeling. It is that end reward for my client that energises me to fight all the legal battles along the way.
I am grateful to Kim and Fiona for welcoming me in to the Somerset Ladies in Business networking group even though I did not arrive with the kudos of being an entrepreneur! I was there at the very first meeting when there were far fewer of us than there are now. Building our network is a key ingredient to our success. The relaxed atmosphere of the SLiB community with the added bonus of quality coffee and delicious cakes is what makes Kim and Fiona’s group so successful.
If there was any advice I could give to anyone embarking on a career whether in a self-employed or an employed capacity, it would be to dream big, work hard, and most of all enjoy the journey.
Website Address: https://www.enablelaw.com/team/ceri-ann-taylor/
Twitter profile: ceri_cat
Email address: email@example.com
Telephone number: 07880 384 667