By Jack Hudson, LLB (Hons)
Today my boss Kevin Donoghue showed me this genuine email from a client:
I just wanted to send a quick message just to ensure that Jack gets the recognition he deserves.
Not only throughout the case has he been sensitive and supportive he has also treated me as a human not a case number which I have rarely ever received from any agency. The consistency and thoroughness has given a complex and uncertain case the most positive outcome. I never imagined it would be successful and I never thought I would reach an end where I can actually feel I am ready to let this go and try and repair myself. In the last 6 years this has been the most calm I have felt and at peace. I don’t blame me anymore and I know it happened even though so many people swept it under the carpet and blamed my mental health.
I can not put in to words what this actually means for me and indirectly my daughter but I don’t think anyone else would understand just how much it does mean without being inside my head. When I say this has probably saved me I don’t mean it lightly.
It’s no exaggeration to say this email made my day. How could it not? Working in civil litigation is not for the faint-hearted. Defendants, their insurers, and solicitors will seek any opportunity to exploit weakness. I must be at my best every day to fight for justice for my clients. It can be challenging and there are plenty of other careers out there. So why did I decide to be a lawyer?
Professional Basketball Career
It could all have been so different. I’ve always been good at sports. Both in and outside of school I competed in football, basketball, and athletics teams. I was a team captain and we won regularly. Sports helped me grow as a person and brought out my leadership and mentoring skills. I focused on basketball as I got older and played full-time professionally. I was offered college scholarships in the USA. College athletes compete at a very high level over there. The lucky ones go on to have multi-million-dollar careers in the NBA. But it wasn’t for me and I declined the opportunity.
I wanted a career where I could make a difference. I’ve always been interested in the law and liked the idea of helping people get access to justice. So, instead of moving to America I went to UCLAN to study law. I played semi-professional basketball with various teams, most recently Liverpool Basketball Club, around my university commitments. It was a struggle balancing both academic and sporting lives. But I learned a lot about time management and prioritising which has helped me in my professional life.
I earned my law degree and got a job at Donoghue Solicitors. I’m also studying to earn post-graduate legal qualifications. As well as work and study I work-out every day, train regularly, and play basketball weekly. This year my team, Liverpool Basketball Club, want to win the league. Fingers crossed we will. I’m nearing the end of my basketball career and my role within the team has changed. As club captain and one of the more experienced players, I spend time coaching on and off the court. The younger athletes are full of energy and skill. I see my role as helping them harness that to achieve success.
Similarities Between Basketball and the Law
In many ways playing basketball is like working in the law. I find myself coaching and guiding my younger colleagues at work daily. I try to lead by example, treating them and our clients as I would like to be treated. I see myself as a team captain when representing people in their civil compensation claims. I take responsibility for what happens from the moment I first speak to them. I create a “game plan” and execute it with the help of colleagues and outside experts, barristers etc. where necessary. Our clients are central to the plan’s success. They know their role and do their part to make sure we succeed as a team. But “winning” is not defined by numbers on a scoreboard. For my clients and me, it’s about justice. This can take many forms and is not just financial compensation. As the email above shows, succeeding in a civil claim can be a life-changing slam-dunk. I know I’m in the right place, doing the right job, to help my clients get the justice they deserve.
Jack Hudson helps people with their civil compensation claims throughout England and Wales. Contact him here.