As leading professional negligence solicitors, we offer an un-paralleled level of legal support, guidance and representation, to those clients who have incurred substantial losses as a result of professional negligence and who wish to claim compensation.
In this introductory guide, we highlight some of the key attributes and features that distinguish us from most other firms and that show, at a glance, why we are the preferred choice of professional negligence solicitors for so many businesses and private individuals.
The range of clients that we represent
By virtue of the fact that we are specialists in our field, most of our clients are referred to us by other legal and non-legal professionals. Otherwise, clients tend to discover us through our authoritative website.
While we do not set out to be in any way selective in the types of clients that we represent, the nature of our work, in combination with our reputation as sector-specialists, means that we are typically instructed to advise on and pursue professional negligence claims on behalf of:
- Owner-managed businesses
- Commercial entities
- Ultra-high-net-worth individuals
- High-net-worth individuals
- A range of professionals, including other solicitors, barristers, doctors and liquidators.
Geographically, our clients are located across England and Wales, albeit with a significant number in London and the South East, where professional service providers exist in greater density. We have also acted for a number of overseas clients variously located in Australia, the UAE and the USA, all with commercial interests in the UK.
The types of claims upon which we advise
Over many years of practice, we have gained extensive experience of acting on claims against a wide range of professionals. This includes claims against:
- Insurance brokers
- Financial advisers and surveyors
- Emerging professionals (such as IT consultants, health and safety consultants and agronomists)
The value of the claims that we advise upon is equally broad, typically ranging from £50,000 to many millions.
For examples of some of the significant professional negligence claims in which our solicitors have acted, please see our Experience.
Why clients choose us as their professional negligence solicitors
Our clients frequently tell us that they instruct us because we come highly recommended and/or because we are true specialists in our field. These comments also reflect our view that clients are rightly becoming ever more understanding and selective when purchasing professional services and wish to ensure that they instruct the best people to resolve their claim.
In many cases, our clients already have historic ties with ‘family’ or ‘business’ solicitors, who they habitually instruct to advise them in other areas of legal practice, such as employment or property law, or will writing and conveyancing. However, such solicitors cannot usually offer the same level of knowledge, insight and experience in this very specialist area.
From our experience as professional negligence solicitors, and regardless of our own appointment, we advise against instructing general practitioners, or solicitors who profess to ‘specialise’ in a wide range of different areas. Given the complexities and pitfalls that inhabit all professional disciplines, selecting a true specialist is invariably more prudent and cost effective.
While we are pleased to be recognised for our technical expertise, it is not the only feature that sets us apart from many other solicitors. As we explain elsewhere and in response to the question Why Us?, there is very much more that makes us distinct and a desirable option for clients wishing to retain professional negligence solicitors.
Our recognition as professional negligence solicitors
The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners are renowned as the leading independent directories for the UK legal profession. Between them, and on an annual basis, they conduct tens of thousands of client surveys and interviews in order to identify the top performers in each area of legal practice, including that of professional negligence solicitors.
As head of the PNC team, Jonathan Watmough has been repeatedly endorsed by both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK, receiving the following write-ups:
- Ranked by Chambers UK (2021) for Professional Negligence: ‘He has a concise and clear communication style and demonstrates total attention to detail,’ one client reveals, adding: ‘Above all, he gave us the genuine belief and confidence to progress our claim’.
- Recommended by The Legal 500 (2021) for Professional Negligence: Jonathan Watmough ‘leverages his previous experience working for leading professional indemnity insurers to represent businesses and high-net-worth individuals’.
- Ranked by Chambers UK (2020) for Professional Negligence: Jonathan is described by a source as ‘diligent, clear and concise’. He acts for clients in claims against a variety of professionals, including insurance brokers, solicitors and accountants.
- Recommended by The Legal 500 (2020) for Professional Negligence.
- Ranked by Chambers UK (2019) for Professional Negligence: Jonathan Watmough of Keystone Law advises claimants and uninsured defendants in various professional negligence claims and policy disputes. Clients benefit from his experience in defending claims for professional indemnity insurers.
- Recommended by The Legal 500 (2019) for Professional Negligence.
- Ranked by Chambers UK (2018) for Professional Negligence: Jonathan is described as ‘very pleasant, patient and understanding’.
- Recommended by The Legal 500 (2017) for Professional Negligence: Jonathan is praised for his ‘superb eye for detail and commercial mind’ and for ‘always thinking one step ahead’.
- Recommended by The Legal 500 (2016) for Professional Negligence: Jonathan is described as ‘fantastic’.
Sharon Duncan, who joined PNC Legal from the world’s third largest global law firm, has also been repeatedly endorsed by The Legal 500, and most notably for her experience in banking litigation:
- Ranked by The Legal 500 (2021) for Banking Litigation: Sharon is praised for being ‘very knowledgeable and experienced, particularly in mis-selling cases’.
- Ranked by the Legal 500 (2019) for Banking Litigation: Sharon is highlighted for being ‘a friendly client-facing lawyer’.
What clients say about our professional negligence solicitors
We are relentless in our dedication to delivering the best possible service, which is why we value the feedback that we receive from our clients above all else.
Among the unsolicited comments that we are pleased to have received from our clients are the following:
‘Your advice proved always to be correct, informative and accurate on every occasion, the ease of accessibility to contact you and get immediate replies via e-mail or by direct telephone contact is a credit to you as is the friendly manner in which you work.’
‘…may I place on record my appreciation of your services. The quality of your advice and expertise is in my opinion very high indeed.’
‘Your service in dealing with this matter was excellent, especially the hard work you put into the mediation and the great result achieved…many thanks for your assistance.’
‘I have very much appreciated your calm and considered approach in your dealings with [this] claim.’
These, and many of the other comments we have received from our clients, can be viewed within the Testimonials section of our website.
What our individual professional negligence solicitors can offer to you
The seniority and specialist experience of our solicitors sets them apart from those at other firms. All the claims upon which we are instructed are conducted on a day-to-day basis by a partner-level solicitor, with at least 10 years’ post qualification experience. While we retain the ability to involve paralegals (being non-qualified lawyers) and junior solicitors to support claims if necessary, unlike many other firms, we do not to rely on them to conduct our client’s claims.
This ensures that the advice our clients receive is always meaningful and pragmatic, based on real world experience, rather than theoretical and speculative, based on text-book narrative. It also means that our clients enjoy a continuous and attentive service, and are not paying for their advisers to learn as they go.
In addition, and critically, all our professional negligence solicitors subscribe to our core values, which underpin our service and support our growth ambitions.
How we are likely to approach your professional negligence claim
How we approach your claim will be governed in large part by your own circumstances, your individual needs and the particular features of your claim.
Initially, and if you are minded to pursue a claim as most of our clients are, we are likely to undertake some or all of the preliminary steps set out in our Bring a claim service guide.
Thereafter, and for the duration of the claim, we will adopt an incremental and collaborative approach, with scheduled reviews at which we will undertake a holistic assessment of the claim, in consultation with you. In this way, you can be assured, not only of being kept fully apprised of key developments, but also of remaining in control of each of the litigation levers at your disposal.
Litigation services that we do not provide
As dedicated professional negligence solicitors, we do not dilute our practice by undertaking work in other areas of litigation. This means that unlike many of our competitors, we will not accept instructions to act or advise in:
- Personal injury claims
- Solicitor/client fee disputes
- Shareholder disputes
- Boundary disputes
- Consumer goods disputes
- Partnership disputes
- Debt recovery claims
- Medical malpractice claims
However, we do know highly experienced solicitors who specialise in each of these areas (and others) and we would be happy to provide their contact details or, alternatively, to forward any enquiries to them.
The cost of instructing professional negligence solicitors
Generally, although not in every case, professional negligence claims are more costly to pursue than many other more routine forms of litigation. The reasons for this are numerous and include the fact that:
- The background events giving rise to professional negligence claims are often complicated and this can make the claim more time consuming to investigate and pursue;
- There is frequently a substantial volume of underlying documents that need to be collated and forensically reviewed to establish what evidence exists to support (or undermine) the claim;
- The legal principles that govern professional negligence claims are contained within an extensive body of case law, which can prove complicated to apply;
- By their very nature, professional negligence claims are of the utmost seriousness and, therefore, demanding of greater scrutiny;
- Expert evidence can sometimes be required in order to better determine the nature of the apparent error or omission made by the professional and/or to quantify aspects of the loss suffered.
We understand that for many clients, funding a legal claim after sustaining a substantial financial loss can present an additional challenge and we seek to ameliorate this burden in a range of different ways and most notably by:
- Employing experienced solicitors, who are inherently more proficient and efficient;
- Leveraging our unique operating structure to deliver more competitive rates;
- Being entirely transparent with our clients about the costs that we expect to incur;
- Taking an incremental approach to every claim, with agreed points for review;
- Providing our clients with both regular and detailed updates of the costs that have been incurred;
- Using technology where possible to drive efficiencies in our work product;
- Discussing with our clients the various alternative forms of funding potentially available to them.
In doing so, our clients can be confident that our service is not only best in class, but also one that is delivered conscientiously and to achieve good value.
Further information about professional negligence
As you would expect, as specialists in our field we have written extensively about the legal, commercial and practical issues that arise in relation to professional negligence claims. These articles are intended to be helpful and informative and many of them can be found on our Insights page.