I decided I wanted to be a lawyer when I was about 5 years old. My aunt was getting divorced and she had an amazing female attorney. I grew up on a farm and was surrounded by housewives and I was in awe of this “career” woman. I wanted to be her.
So from 5 I focused on becoming an attorney. I never thought I would end up in insurance litigation at the time. In fact, I fantasised about being a family lawyer and saving all the vulnerable mothers in this world. Then with the change to the new constitutional dispensation in my formative years it was no surprise that I then thought that perhaps I would become a human rights lawyer. I even tried my hand at criminal law and did a stint of criminal law work experience in the UK; at no time did insurance ever cross my mind!
Unsurprisingly, when I actually started practising I realised that the reality was very different to what I had imagined, and not one of them was for me. But I still loved practising law. When you do articles (two years of training before you can be admitted as an attorney) at a big law firm like Norton Rose Fulbright, you generally do four six-month rotations. This means you get to try your hand at four different areas of law. My fourth, and last, rotation was in our insurance litigation department. I had finally found it! The brilliant thing about insurance litigation is that you never get bored.
The types of matters that come across your desk differ every day. With professional liability matters, I would work with an architect the one day, a doctor the next, then an engineer and even some attorneys. In all of those matters I would have to make sure I understood the roles and responsibilities of that particular profession and how each of them did their job. I would have to ‘become’ an architect to provide the insured with the very best legal service.
There are so many other areas of insurance litigation, in addition to professional liability matters, such as marine, aviation, road and rail, as well as the relatively new and exciting area of cyber liability (just to name a few)! The truth is when doing insurance litigation, it is impossible to become bored, you learn something new every day and every file you pick up is different to the one before. I finally found that fast-paced, exciting and challenging legal career I had always dreamt about, in insurance!