Not The Archers, but an everyday story of country legal folk in the Borders - Marina Urie
I joined the firm in November 2016 having relocated from Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders in 2015. Family life is rural but town-based and we don’t miss the bright lights of the city! Living in the playground of the rolling hills and river valleys is manna from heaven for me as a hill running addict, and I wake up each day feeling blessed to live, work and play in such a beautiful part of Scotland.
This is also crucially important to my work. Local knowledge and connections assist in the work I do. I feel part of the fabric of the Borders.
From being referred cases through word of mouth recommendations from existing and former clients, to working with other local solicitors on personal injury cases to having the latest and specialist on-the-pulse regional knowledge on the issues of the day which too often results in civil negligence cases to obtain redress for victims. Being a Borders resident helps facilitate the best possible outcome for those I represent.
Work is varied and challenging and can mean a personal juggle when one meets clients on a Friday night in the pub (far more likely in a small town than a big city!) but this also contributes to the service I provide; a different, more local level of lawyering.
Being able to meet clients in their own home, being available if they walk in off the street to have a quick chat about a concern, and being approachable often on my days off too, means I am often far more than just their solicitor for their personal injury case.
On a far more serious note, I am exceptionally proud of the work I do in this office - from obtaining compensation for victims of serious road traffic accidents or accidents at work to the campaigning I do under the larger umbrella of a specialist national firm with a reputation for not only obtaining redress but campaigning on legal loopholes and injustices.
Thompsons doesn’t just work the law to obtain reparation for victims; we try to influence the law when we see it disenfranchises the most vulnerable. We only act for victims, never insurers or employers.
Campaigning is in my blood. I come from a political family and I consider it an honour to be able to assist clients in this way too. A recent example of this is acting for the families in the case of the teacher convicted of assaulting and abusing vulnerable special needs children in her care.
I am not just fighting for rightful compensation from Scottish Borders Council, but I was also involved in the families’ struggle for the independent inquiry by Mr Andrew Webster KC- which looked into the handling of the matter by Scottish Borders Council.
This was a hard- fought battle and I was proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their tireless quest to get an independent inquiry. Working alongside the families and local MSP Christine Graham to speak to the media, and push this serious issue into the public realm meant the Inquiry happened and it vindicated the victims and their families and laid bare the abject failings of the council towards these vulnerable children. This is often a crucial and often unknown aspect of the work we do behind the scenes.
As Karl Marx famously said: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world…the point however, is to change it" - and that is a bit of a personal mantra for me.
This was, in fact, on my personal statement when I decided I wanted to apply to study law and I do hope I am living up to that almost 24 years later, for the people of the Scottish Borders whom I call not only clients, but also neighbours and friends.
Marina Urie is an Associate, Thompsons Scotland
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