The Law Society Gazette, the weekly magazine for solicitors in England and Wales, has for many years run a series of articles entitled ‘My Legal Life.’ Each week someone tells the story of how they came to be a solicitor, how they came to practice in their chosen area, what drives them and so on.
Reading about the burning passion that some of the lawyers featured seem to have had for the profession ever since the day they were born and the dizzy heights they have attained since, can sometimes make even fellow solicitors or lawyers feel a wee bit inadequate, at times.
So, when we read the feature on our very own Alistair Worth, Mooneerams Managing Director, in this week’s edition of the Gazette, we swelled with pride. It wasn’t just seeing Alistair’s face staring out at us from off the page or seeing the name of our Cardiff solicitors’ firm in lights. It was the content of the article about the somewhat circuitous route Alistair took to becoming a solicitor and to becoming the head of the only purely claimant personal injury solicitors in Wales, that made us feel proud to be a part of the Mooneerams family.
‘How I became a solicitor’ by Alistair Worth
Alistair told us through the pages of the premier legal publication in the country, that he didn’t do fantastically well at school and that his main aim at that stage was to earn enough money to go to and see his favourite bands and to be able to watch Cardiff City and the Welsh national team on their travels!
He did end up going to college in Sheffield, but this was because he quite fancied savouring the life of being a student. He did not even study Law at his chosen college, Sheffield Polytechnic. At first, he took Business Studies, did not like it, and so took a law degree. That was the first tentative move towards becoming a solicitor (not that we imagine he was thinking anything of the sort at that stage!)
He trained with a small firm of Cardiff solicitors based in the Docks area of the city. It was whilst working on a group litigation case on behalf of local residents who were claiming damages arising from the effects on their lives of a large construction project near their homes, that the young trainee solicitor from Tonteg, found that he really enjoyed helping David to beat Goliath! The rest, as they say is history. Still, though, the path ahead was to prove to be far from glamorous.
After swapping general litigation for claimant personal injury, Alistair met Vin Mooneeram. Both found that there was much that they disliked about the way that claims management companies saturated the airwaves of TV and radio with cheesy personal injury claim adverts. They found it distasteful and vowed to set up their own solicitors’ firm specialising solely in claimant personal injury work and to do things the right way.
No aspiring young solicitor would ever admit that they foresaw themselves working out of a bedroom in a house belonging to their business partner’s mother, at some stage in their career! That though is where Mooneerams started life in 2002. Without having any clients, too.
However thin on the ground new business may have been, both Alistair and Vin were determined that they were never going to take work from claims management companies (who refer work to solicitors in return for a fee). They also vowed to retain their independence. If work were to start coming in, it would be by word of mouth recommendations. Eventually, the first trickle of clients started to approach the new Cardiff personal injury solicitors’ firm.
Fast forward to 2020 and the thriving law practice of Mooneerams, is based in modern offices just north of the city centre, near Tongwynlais. There are now sixteen people in the Mooneerams team. Vin retired in 2016 and Alistair’s old friend and experienced serious injury solicitor, Angus Fergusson became a Director.
Why everyone, not just solicitors, should read Alistair Worth’s story
Alistair’s story as told to the Gazette will sadly not be read widely by the public. Who after all, whiles away their leisure hours reading the Law Gazette, unless they work in the legal profession?
It deserves to be seen and read by young people all over south Wales and beyond who think that they are not bright enough or good enough to become solicitors. Perhaps they think that becoming a lawyer is something that is only open to other people, not them. Maybe it is the preserve only of those getting top grades at school and who come from wealthy families? Alistair’s story belies that theory.
Alistair, Angus and all at Mooneerams feel that they are very much part of the local community. Everyone feels that we want to give back to the local community that has supported them so well over the past (almost )18 years.
Mooneerams actively support and encourage local youngsters to think about the legal profession as a career. The firm takes part in careers days at Cardiff schools, offers vacation work in Mooneerams Cardiff office to students, and provides trainee solicitor contracts to those who have completed their legal studies and now want to embark on the final part of their path to becoming a solicitor.
Alistair’s story also deserves to be read more widely for another reason too. Personal injury solicitors get a bad time in the Press and it must be said from some members of the public. Some of it is deserved. As Alistair observed in the Gazette’s article, there was and still is too much ‘in your face’ advertising from not only Claims Management Companies but also from some solicitors. The practice of cold calling people, asking if they want to claim for compensation, by some of the more unscrupulous claims companies is not just abhorred by the public but is by us, as well. So too is the selling of personal injury claims by claims companies to solicitors.
Alistair Worth spoke of his and Vin Mooneerams assertion that they would never ‘buy-in or pay for work’. They and then subsequently Alistair in conjunction with Angus, have been true to their word. Mooneerams has never paid for work. The firm has an informative website; it engages lightly with its followers on Facebook and other social media outlets. Still, though most of Mooneerams work comes from word of mouth, just as was the intention when the firm set up all those years ago.
There is a place in society for specialist personal injury lawyers that work on a No Win, No fee basis. If you suffered a bad injury in an accident at work or road traffic accident or if you were to break bones in a slip and trip accident, wouldn’t you want injury compensation and be able to get back your lost earnings plus all your other expenses that followed on from the accident?
At Mooneerams, we think there’s room amongst all that is going on in the world right now, for expert personal injury solicitors who go about business in the right way and help others get back onto their feet when they’ve suffered injuries in accidents caused by someone else’s carelessness. We think that at Mooneerams we do that, just like Alistair said we would do, all those years ago.
If you want to read the full Law Society Gazette article ‘My Legal Life – Alistair Worth, Mooneerams’ you can find it here