Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Stewarts Law: Matt King and his work with the SIA

Our trainee solicitor, Matt King, joined Stewarts Law in 2010 following a number of years completing work placements with us. In his first year of training, Matt worked in our Personal Injury Department assisting with work for a number of our clients who had suffered a spinal cord injury. Matt was able to draw on his personal experiences since his accident in 2004 which gave him a unique insight and perspective into the challenges faced by our clients and a true ability to empathise with their situation.

Since that time, Matt has gone on to train in the Clinical Negligence Department during which time he again worked on a number of cases in which our clients had suffered a spinal cord injury. During this time, Matt has been in the unique position to employ his legal skills, whilst at the same time doing so with the knowledge of somebody having experienced what many of our clients are going through.

Matt broke his neck at the age of just 17 whilst playing in his first match for the London Broncos Under-18 Rugby League Academy side. A tackle one minute into the match left Matt paralysed from the neck down and dependant on a ventilator to breathe at all times.
Following his accident, Matt spent nine months recovering in the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville. Much like many of our clients, he had to learn to come to terms with his disability and strived to rebuild the pieces of his life.
Following Matt's discharged home in December 2004, he returned to school to complete his A-levels, achieving straight ‘A’ grades, and began studying Law at the University of Hertfordshire. Matt graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Law before joining us to complete his legal training in 2010.
During his nine-month stay in hospital, Matt became more than aware of the crucial importance which being able to speak with others who had suffered a similar injury could bring. For Matt, these experiences whilst he was in hospital brought him hope. Because of this, since his discharge from hospital, Matt has always strived to help others who have suffered similar injuries, advocating on behalf of those with spinal injuries and volunteering as a peer advisor with the Spinal Injuries Association, strengthening our partnership with the work they do in his own right. This role has allowed him to visit patients in spinal units, offering support, advice and encouragement to help them on the road to recovery.
He has not lost his love for rugby and sport in general. Since his accident, Matt has gone on to qualify as a rugby coach, and in 2006 became the first person in the world to complete a half marathon when he took part in and finished the BUPA Great North Run. The following year he went on to complete the 2007 ING New York Marathon, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.
In recognition of his charitable work, Matt was awarded an OBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honour List for services to Charity and those with Disabilities: an honour which he received from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in January 2013.

Matt will complete his legal training in January next year, and he plans to qualify into the Personal Injury Department to continue assisting others having suffered a catastrophic injury, be it to the spinal-cord, or otherwise. He hopes that his experiences since his accident in 2004 will give him a unique insight which will enhance both his ability, and that of Stewarts Law, to provide the best quality of legal service possible.

Read more about Matt’s work here    

We are proud of our work with SIA, more details of which appear here

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