The Start of Something New: Ashtons Legal Brain Injury Case Management Conference

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19th November 2014 saw the start of something big.  A long lasting ambition became reality.

Ashtons Legal held its first Brain Injury Case Management Conference!  Our Injury Services teams have long worked with case management companies across the country and have been aware that there can be a lack of legal training for the profession.  This was something we wanted to change and thus the AAshtons Legal case management conference was born!

For the first event of its kind, and the first event of this scale to be put on by the Court of Protection Team at Ashtons Legal, its success was uncertain and apprehension abounded in the preparation and planning stages. However hurdles were overcome, mountains scaled and from the chaos emerged a prosperous conference that exceeded all expectations!

Despite short notice over 50 delegates were able to attend from all corners of the country and a further 40 attendees of exhibitors, speakers and staff gave the conference the perfect balance of delegates to staff and exhibitors. This allowed for an intimate atmosphere where everyone was well attended and delegates felt relaxed and comfortable and able to interact with staff and exhibitors.

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Reactions from the day and via twitter further reiterated the success felt by the team.  Many delegates commenting on how much they enjoyed the day, how well they were looked after, with one case manager commenting that it was the best conference they had ever been to! Feedback from the exhibitors was equally positive with many appreciating the scale and numbers at the event that allowed a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere and permitted a comfortable interaction between delegate and exhibitor.

The conference itself was magnificently chaired and managed by an Ashtons partner who ran a tight ship in terms of timings and organisation, only having to threaten to use the taser once! Rob Horner of 3 Paper Buildings navigated the delegates through the landscape of litigation with ease offering practical advice and practice points for case managers from a litigator’s point of view.

Renowned care expert Maggie Sargent hit home with her presentation on the practical implications for case managers in on going litigation cases. Showing the increasing scrutiny and pressure that case managers are facing when harder looks are taken into the role and costs of case management in litigation cases.

Adrian Mundell of Ashtons Legal provided a Deputy’s perspective on case management and the client, emphasising team work to manage the client’s expectations while providing the best possible services. Demonstrating how this can be a challenge and stressing the importance of presenting a united and collaborative front to the client and family.

Fenners Chambers provided two speakers in the form of Araba Taylor and Caroline Allison. Both spoke separately on the challenges faced by the vulnerable and brain injured in regards to housing and accommodation; topics which many case managers could relate to and trials their clients may face frequently.

Dr Andrew Bateman rounded off the day with a presentation that had everyone on their feet- literally.  He spoke passionately on the role and impact of specialist rehabilitation and the impact it can have on patients. Something of which case managers will appreciate the influence and significance.

An expert panel of Ashtons Legal Solicitors and Partners fielded a wide range of questions submitted by case managers on and before the day; hopefully shedding some light on some of the various difficulties case managers face.  These included queries on employment and new working time directives, deputyship costs and risks of double recovery.

However I feel there would be no dispute in stating that by far the highlight of the day was the moving and personal account of Mags Hall.  Mags is Mother to seven year old Zak for whom Tom Cook conducted a clinical negligence claim against NHSLA as a result of negligence at Zak’s birth.  Zak has cerebral palsy and was present at the conference along with his carer Allison.  Adrian Mundell now acts as Deputy for Zak and Mags is a real advocate of the firm and case management.  Her poignant speech had many reaching for the tissues and really put into perspective why we all do what we do.

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Ashtons Legal Case Manager, Paul Humphries, with Zak Hall.

Overall the day was a rip-roaring success with many delegates and exhibitors already booking their places for next year!  A huge thank you needs to go out to all involved, especially Toby Whittacker-Cook for dedicating so much time and energy into pulling off such a successful day.  A thank you must also go out to all the staff and colleagues who gave up their time on the day to attend and who worked so hard to ensure that everyone felt welcome and well looked after.

Of course the conference would be nothing without the speakers, exhibitors and delegates who all took time out of hectic schedules to attend and make the day truly exceptional.  From a personal view it was nice to see many familiar faces but also fantastic to meet so many new and previously unknown case managers.

The Silverlining Charity also had a representative speak at the day; one who spoke from a very personal perspective. This talk showed the true importance such an organisation can have on a persons life and how giving a person purpose can really help someone grow and become so much more.  This makes them a most deserving cause, one to which we can all associate with the work that we do.  Over £2,000 was donated to the Silverlining from delegate fees to help them to continue to add hope and purpose to those whose skies are dark and gloomy.

We will be building on the back of this success with another case management conference this year, further details of which will shortly be announced.  Please do get in touch if you have any topics or areas you want covered, or if you yourself want to speak or exhibit.  We want to build this around you to be bigger and better!   We hope to see you there!


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