Davis Blank Furniss – the Manchester based law firm – is looking to build on and expand a number of its key teams in 2013 after seeing record increases in clinical negligence, professional negligence and contested will work.
Over the past 12 months, the firm – which has offices on Deansgate in the city centre and in Glossop – has seen increases of 32% in the number of clinical negligence cases its handling, 22% in contested will clients and 30% in professional negligence briefs.
The firm has seen a particularly sharp rise in demand for clinical negligence claims from the over 60’s. Kate Oldfield – managing partner – commented: “Previously this group would probably not have complained – however, they are now taking action and we’re seeing a lot of orthopaedic claims, especially for hip replacement surgery that has gone wrong. There’s also been a spike in obstetric cases, defects caused by difficult births that have not been diagnosed or repaired properly as well as more claims against pharmacists who have not dispensed the correct medicine.”
In terms of contested wills, the majority of new instructions have come from relatives wanting to directly challenge what has been outlined in a will. Clients are now realising that it can be quite easy to bring a claim, and many are unmarried couples, second marriages or children who live with and look after ageing parents. Kate said; “The rise in contested wills – we believe – is due to the fact that people are now generally more aware and also better educated on what they can do if they don’t believe something is just.”
In terms of professional negligence, Davis Blank Furniss is now acting for its highest ever number of claimants – up 30% on this time last year. Most have come to the firm after receiving wrong, bad or costly advice from professional service suppliers such as accountants, architects, estate agents, surveyors and independent financial consultants. Paul Walton – former managing partner of Hill Dickinson – joined the business in May 2011 to head up the team.
Kate summarised: “There’s no doubt the market is tough and the legal landscape is changing with the advent of ABSs, but I’m confident firms such as our which provide a professional service will continue to do well. Since the start of the year, we have invested in what we believe to be some of the key growth areas and I’m happy to say that our commercial, property and employment department are also pretty buoyant.”