Soyab Patel is an experienced advocate holding Higher Rights of Audience in all Higher Courts, including representation of families, professionals, and organisations at inquests.
In this Q&A, discover what led Soyab to a career in the law.
What made you want to study law?
I have always had a passion for justice and helping people. The way in which the law interacts with the lives of people daily fascinates me. After leaving school and starting an apprenticeship as a vehicle builder, I quickly realised that I wanted to pursue a career that engaged with and helped people. Combining this with my passion and interest in law left me with no better option than to pursue a career in legal profession.
How did your career start out?
I studied Law at Liverpool, completing the Legal Practice Course at The College of Law in Chester and was admitted as a solicitor in 1995. I chose modules and topics which challenged me because I wanted to get as much as I could out of my time studying. Initially, I dealt with Commercial Litigation concentrating on the Law of Contract. I then decided to expand my skill set to include Personal Injury, Professional Negligence and Employment Law.
Where did you go from there?
Following my studies, I obtained a training contact at Fletchers and stayed at the firm once qualified and built up my experience until I joined the Specter Partnership Solicitors in 1993. Then in 2008, I completed a Master of Laws Degree in Advanced Litigation and Dispute Resolution and became a partner of KLS Law as well as holding directorship in Specters solcitors.
What has been your key case and work experience in law?
I have been involved in several high-profile cases such as the Grayrigg Train Derailment. This accident resulted in one passenger being fatally injured, 28 passengers, the train driver and one other crew member being seriously injured, and 59 other passengers receiving minor injuries. Network Rail later pleaded guilty to a breach of the duty imposed on them by section 3(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 to do all that was reasonably practicable to prevent the exposure to risk of non-employees and were subsequently fined over £4,000,000.
Are you a member of any Associations?
I am a member of several professional associations such as the Association of Professional Injury Lawyers, Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates, as well as the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers.
How do you spend your time outside of the office?
I take part in several fitness activities outside of work. I enjoy cycling, running, yoga and 5 aside football. Most Saturday mornings I take part in my local 5k parkrun which is a fantastic community event. I completed my 50th parkrun in Belfast.
Do you have a favourite charity or club you support?
My favourite charity is Medicine Sans Frontieres. The name of the charity translates to ‘doctors without borders’ and is an international, medical humanitarian organisation working in more than 70 countries around the world. They provide medical health care in difficult areas to people who cannot afford it and put themselves in difficult circumstances to help others.
What trends have you seen within the industry?
The attitude towards cyclist’s safety has improved during my time in practice. For example, the new highway code has introduced rule 239, which provides you should open a car door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening. This new rule has been put in place to encourage the driver and passengers to look over their shoulder before opening a car door.
What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?
Some people may be surprised to learn that I have a black belt in Karate. I have practiced in this discipline for many years.