Shaw and Co Solicitors Info
Shaw and Co Personal Injury Solicitors in Newcastle: Review
Today's piece is on a Personal Injury specialist firm called Shaw & Co. The term 'Personal Injury' has been generalised over the past couple of decades and unfortunately it's difficult to tell whether a firm will actually take on your specific type of case at first glance. In our opinion if a firm only take basic cases such as Road Accidents, Work Injuries and Slips/Trips - it may be an idea to try someone else.
Why? A lot of brand new law firms and even companies with no solicitors in them target this narrow range of claims. Literally dozens of new websites pop up daily because injuries such as whiplash are often easy, quick and lucrative. Some firms collect client details just to sell on to other solicitors. If your case is even slightly problematic or has special circumstances - these basic in-and-out firms will do you no favours.
So even though you may not have an employment issue or asbestosis or are the victim of a medical blunder - the fact the firm you choose to represent you actually handles those anyway goes a long way to indicating their actual level of expertise and experience.
Chances are you won't have read a sentence with "livery stables" in it on another law firm's site today. Shaw and Co don't just handle injury matters related to horses - they actively target and request such cases to come to them. They also handle medical negligence, asbestos disease and claims against the Ministry of Defence. That's four case types that we would consider requiring serious work and an experienced lawyer. So it's a good start.
Sadly, the marketing gurus have got to the legal industry and even though the majority of firms you'll have researched so far will state they have huge amounts of experience - not all is as it seems. Some firms add up the experience of all their staff put together and make statement such as 'we have a combined experience of 20 years' which could simply mean 5 members of staff with 4 years experience. Some will state 'established in 1971' which makes it sound as though they'll have a huge amount of experience. But again, this does not guarantee any of the staff have more than a year's experience behind them. It may only be the brand name which has been around all that time. We've even seen firms advertise a 150-year history simply because they moved into the building owned by an older firm. (No really.)
So are Shaw and Co using clever wording? No. How can you find out? Easy. The majority of legal professionals in the UK are signed up to a voluntary law society. The Law Society of England & Wales covers this particular firm and if you look up their company page it states the firm currently has three solicitors: Christopher Shaw, Mary Charles and James Brown who qualified in 1994, 1987 and 2004 respectively. You can also click on each individual name to see their specialities.
You can do this for most firms in the UK if you ever want to check up on their claims of great experience. There are other things to watch out for generally when choosing a personal injury firm. Always remember than "no win, no fee" and "100% of your compensation" are not the same arrangement just worded differently. No win, no fee simply means that if you lose you have nothing to pay. The solicitor may still take a cut of your compensation if you win, sometimes as much as 25%. It's only firms that state you will get 100% of your compensation that won't take a cut of your compensation at the end. Shaw & Co state this on their front page:
But on several of their inner pages they state:
They definitely state both for cases such as Road Traffic Accidents, but the reason they probably don't state both on their front page is because of what we said before - i.e. they take on more difficult case types such as medical negligence. Not all types of personal injury can be handled offering both 100% compensation and no win, no fee. That's not a bad reflection on the firm itself. Shaw and Co clearly apply both to the more simpler (relatively speaking) road accident cases. But Medical negligence and MOD claims are often high risk and high cost for any solicitor, with large outlays just to get the case going with all the experts and appointments needed. So when deciding which firm to go with make sure to ask up front about potential fees and don't take 'well, we'll discuss that later when ...' as an answer from anyone.
Quite often you'll find that firms who decide to take on MOD cases have either personal or familial history with the military. Coupled with their statements made on pages about equine accidents, this firm comes across as having a genuine personal passion for both types of case which can only be a bonus.
We did find it difficult sometimes to navigate and find all this information though. The majority of pages we saw seem to be called something like "personal injury accident compensation claims solicitors ..." then the title of the actual page or article. The staff profile pages were both titled "Accident Compensation Solicitors Newcastle" and linked to using those phrases rather than the names of the solicitors. There were two pages titled about "sponsorship" that ended up being about horse accident compensation. Practically every page also had a 2-3 paragraph sales pitch like the one from the front page before getting to the bit you'd come to that page to read about. Even the "About Us" page was a mirror image of the front page rather than a history of the firm or details about what makes them different.
This unfortunately ends up hiding a part of their site that we really like. Case studies are something we originally thought only industry professionals would want to take the time to read. Unlike sensationalised tabloid stories - case studies list details of a case, the issues faced, and any special measures employed to achieve the result. Photos of a 'villain' and heart-breaking cliches are not included. But it turns out (thanks to our poll last year) we were wrong. Potential clients also like to see these sorts of articles.
Many firms like to post huge numbers on their website: 'Mr Knotreel won £1million for bruising his pinky! Call now!' That's not what we're talking about though and Shaw & Co never stoop to this level. Case studies should never be that crass. Stating a bunch of figures to entice people to claim is unhelpful and frankly deceiving as 9 times out of 10 those numbers are unusually high for a very specific reason not declared next to the tantalising 'winnings' statements. (We very much dislike the term 'won' when it relates to damage settlements for harm done.) Shaw & Co's case studies are written more like news articles and are listed as such. However they are written far more in the format of a case study than a news piece. That's why we think you might be interested in reading them and why we're even going to link to that page directly.
A quick note about the phone number as the only one we saw was an 0800. As far as we know, there are no UK mobile networks left that charge for 0800 numbers. It should be completely free from a landline or mobile. There's still a lot of confusion out there with 0800, 08000, 0808, 0300, 0845, 0871 and so on. But we haven't come across a solicitor yet that uses a prefix that will be outside most people's monthly mobile plan.
Please also note that the official web address is www.shawandco.com as we've linked to above. www.shawandco.co.uk is for a different firm called HML. Why they're using that web address we've no idea. Also, special characters cannot be used in web addresses for any dot-variant, so www.shaw&co.com or www.shaw&co.co.uk will never exist. There are several solicitors with Shaw in the name too, so we would recommend bookmarking the correct site once you know you're on it just in case. Typically scammers don't target personal injury clients as the payments go to the client. So pretending to be the solicitor doesn't help. Conveyancing clients are targeted quite heavily. But you never know what's around the corner.
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with Shaw and Co Solicitors it's best to visit the website (www.shawandco.com), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
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