Before APIL was established in 1990, standards among lawyers representing injured people left some room for improvement. Injured people were up against robust legal teams defending the people who caused the harm, paid for by insurance premiums. They were at a serious disadvantage. APIL was formed and has been tackling the issue ever since through specialist training.
But there needs to be a way for injured people to know who has had the specialist training and is committed to keeping their knowledge up to date. The danger is that lawyers can operate in all areas of the law, so just because a lawyer will run your personal injury claim does not mean that they are any good at it.
“You wouldn’t have a neurosurgeon repairing a broken leg, whereas I have never done a conveyancing job in my life, but there’s nothing to stop me from doing it,” Colin Ettinger, a former APIL president, has said in the past.
APIL membership in itself is not a badge of merit, but the association’s long-standing accreditation scheme is. Accredited members can display a logo, so they are identifiable to injured members of the public. It reflects a members’ expertise, experience, and up-to-date training.
Accreditation has become increasingly important since the Solicitors Regulation Authority did away with the formal requirement for solicitors to keep up with professional development. From the lawyers’ point of view, why would they bother if they do not have to? Here are some reasons from our accredited members about why it really does matter:
- “It is vital for specialist, experienced solicitors in our area of work to be able to differentiate ourselves for our clients”.
- “I wanted to have the many years I have specialised in personal injury cases to be recognised”
- “I would like people to think that we care enough to obtain the accreditation and that we will help them through these difficult times and seek to achieve the best outcome for them.”
They do not become personal injury lawyers for the glamour (shows like Suits and Silk are, after all, not documentaries) and certainly not for popularity - personal injury lawyers ranked between debt collectors and traffic wardens in a recent MSN survey. But our members tell us there is a huge sense of satisfaction when they achieve the best possible outcome for injured people. The bottom line is, injured people need to be able to find dedicated specialists.
See how to become accredited by APIL here.
Find an accredited lawyer here.