This week, we are delighted to share with you our ‘in conversation with’ feature with Mooneerams Managing Director, Alistair Worth.
Q: How long have you worked at Mooneerams?
A: Since the very beginning. Along with brothers, Vin and Ajay Mooneeram, I was one of the three founding Partners of the firm when we set up in Cardiff in August 2002.
Q: How did you get into law?
A: Completely by chance. I left school after A levels and went to work for a large insurance company in Cardiff City Centre. However, after seeing the fun all my old school friends were having away in University, I lasted less than 2 years before going away myself. I started a Business Studies degree in Sheffield Polytechnic in 1990. The problem was the only module of the course I was any good at was Law so, after a year, I effectively went back a year and started again….this time on a straight Law degree.
I had no inclination to work in the law though but, at the end of the degree, all my fellow students were going on to do the Legal Practice Course with a view to qualifying as Solicitors. So, I did the same. Things were made easier because the former University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales) in Pontypridd offered the Course on my doorstep; so in 1994 I moved back home to live with my parents.
Q: Where did you carry out your training to become a solicitor?
Q: I began my Articles (the two-year Solicitors training period) in a small High Street practice in, what was then called, the Docks area of Cardiff in July 1995. I was thrown in at the deep end from the very first day. The hours were long. We worked late evenings and weekends. I hated every single minute, but somehow got through and qualified as a Solicitor in August 1997.
The time spent there was a real baptism of fire but, upon reflection, was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I knew that professionally nothing would ever be as difficult again. Oh, and it was whilst working there I met my now fellow Director at Mooneerams, Angus Fergusson, who was training at the same time. So, I suppose it wasn’t all bad.
Q: What is the most challenging part about your job?
A: Trying to please all of the people all of the time.
Q: What is the most satisfying part of your job?
A: As trite as it might sound, I take most satisfaction in watching newcomers join Mooneerams and develop into great lawyers. We have an extremely low turnover of staff. I don’t think that’s any coincidence. We put an awful lot of effort into training and development, and I think that is reflected in the quality of our lawyers and, indeed, the team of people who support them behind the scenes.
Q: What has working at home during lockdown been like?
A: Like everyone else in the country all of us at Mooneerams found ourselves having to adjust our lives very quickly, both collectively as a business and more importantly as individuals with families, to the serious threat posed by the coronavirus.
We are fortunate enough to have large, modern office premises. As a result, from the beginning of Lockdown, Angus and I have actually worked in the office rather than from at home – he sits at one end, I sit at the other…..with plenty of social distancing in between!
Meanwhile, we took the decision to facilitate remote working across the company straight away. We wanted to do everything we could, at the earliest opportunity, to protect everyone.
Through a tremendous group effort, we managed to achieve remote working very quickly. It all went very smoothly, as everyone did their bit to ensure there was little or no interruption in the service that we are providing to our clients.
Q: How do you feel personal injury law has changed over the last few years?
A: Well, where to start?! I think access to justice in every area of law has been – and continues to be – systemically eroded certainly since I qualified as a Solicitor in 1997. Personal injury law is no different. The last few years, in particular, have seen huge changes which have undoubtedly made the life of a Claimant personal injury solicitor shall we say, errr, more challenging. But, despite everything that’s thrown at us by the insurance industry and their friends in Government, we’re still here.
What one piece of advice would you give someone who is thinking about becoming a personal injury solicitor?
During your studies, get as much work experience in different law firms as you possibly can. Once you have done that, then decide if it’s a career for you. If it is, then apply to Mooneerams.
Q: If you weren’t a solicitor, what would you be?
A: I’m a football fanatic and I’m really interested in modern history……so can I say a Football Research Historian?
Q: What 3 words would someone use to describe you?
A: A bit different.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Memories of my late Mum and Dad, and a continuing desire to make them proud.
Q: What is it like working at Mooneerams?
A: I’m bound to be biased, but I’d like to think that over the years we have made it a place where people would like to work.
Q: Tell us a little-known fact about you…
A: In 1988 I was the first ever driver for the first ever Pizza Delivery shop to open in South Wales – this was in the days before mobile phones and the internet. It was also 10 years before Dominos opened their first shop here…….and 20 years before the now legendary Mooneerams Pizza Fridays!
To find out more about Alistair, take a look at his team page here.