As we arrive at the offices on North Road East in the heart of Plymouth, we are greeted by a welcoming atmosphere, as busy staff members manage their legal claims. We are met by both Abe and Alistair, who greet us warmly, and usher us upstairs into the conference room for the interview and accompanying photoshoot. Before long, we are joined by the rest of the team, including Chris Kallis himself, and they all pose together for Tom the photographer.
As we settle down at the conference table for the interview, it’s clear that Chris Kallis Solicitors are different, with a local, friendly approach. We ask Abe and Alistair about their backgrounds in law, and we get two exceptionally different, but equally inspiring stories.
Originally, Abe was unsure about what career path to follow, so he decided to pursue what he enjoyed, enrolling on a Philosophy degree at Cardiff University. After completing his undergraduate, he decided to continue his studies at Cardiff, where he achieved a master’s degree. Unfortunately, there are few positions available for professional philosophers, so Abe had to make a decision: continue his studies at PhD level and become a lecturer, or change career paths entirely.
Although there was never any pressure from his father to follow in his footsteps and work within the law field, Abe decided to try it out, and found that he really enjoyed it. After completing a law conversion course at Bristol, Abe worked for a national firm for two years, before joining his father as a partner in 2010. “First and foremost, I really enjoy the job”, explains Abe. “It’s not a corporate law position where it’s a completely different environment; we’re primarily a friendly, open practice, and we help people to receive compensation after they’ve suffered. We assist with rehabilitation, and try to facilitate their needs.”
In complete contrast with Abe, Alistair decided to join the navy after university, and began training to become a pilot. Unfortunately, in 2001, he suffered a severe injury, losing sight in one eye. As a result, he was medically discharged, and had to explore a new career path. While considering career options, Alistair worked in various different jobs, before settling on pursuing a legal career. He registered himself onto a law conversion course whilst working full-time, qualifying as a fully-fledged barrister in 2007.
Alistair joined Chris Kallis Solicitors in 2012. Having worked with the firm previously, he seemed like the natural choice to become Abe’s partner. Alistair brings a unique empathy and understanding to clients due to his own experience with a life-changing injury, and as such specialises in serious claims and clinical negligence work. “Our key aim is to ascertain how to best assist the client to put their lives back on track. Some clients may be unable to return to what they did before due to the severity of their injuries, but hopefully we can get them back to a position where they’re at least as happy as they were previously”.
Our ethos begins and ends with the client. We manage the changes in legal policy, whilst providing the best service possible. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting a good result for a client.
Abe and Alistair’s backgrounds could not be more different, but they are fundamentally underpinned by the same noble desire to help clients who may have suffered from a personal injury: “Our ethos begins and ends with the client. We manage the changes in legal policy, whilst providing the best service possible. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting a good result for a client”.
The work of personal injury specialists are often emotionally-charged due to the severe and often life-changing traumas clients have endured. Abe explains the difficulties faced by the firm: “besides the legal elements of a case often being quite challenging, the hardest part of working as a personal injury specialist is often getting insurers to engage with a client quickly. You often see a recently injured client in desperate need, and it’s clear something has gone wrong and that someone is liable, but you need that response from the insurer so that they will appreciate the magnitude of the claim”.
At Chris Kallis Solicitors, a key part of their mantra is honesty, and part of the work is managing client expectations, as due to the nature of the legal system, it’s impossible to guarantee a positive outcome for every circumstance. What they do ensure, however, is a personalised service. The team at Chris Kallis solicitors prefers addressing their clients in person, with either Abe or Alistair meeting with them on the first consultation. The practice predominantly operates on a no win, no fee basis, and the client is assigned a member of the team who will oversee their claim from start to finish. Intricacies of the process are explained in clear terms, alongside the challenges that arise, and what further evidence is required. There is an open door policy at the practice, where clients can call whenever they have an enquiry, and communication is maintained throughout the various stages of the case.
Although there are many challenging aspects to the job of a personal injury specialist, it’s also an extremely gratifying career. “There’s nothing more rewarding than receiving a client’s thanks at the end of a case. You’ve gone on a journey with them, and at the end you’ve hopefully restored their quality of life, and if there isn’t the possibility of a full recovery, hopefully there is a good care package in place so they can receive appropriate rehabilitation and personal facilities”.
There’s nothing more rewarding than receiving a client’s thanks at the end of a case. You’ve gone on a journey with them, and at the end you’ve hopefully restored their quality of life.
As such Chris Kallis Solicitors has a good relationship with local treatment providers, using their extensive knowledge of who can offer the best service for their clients in order to ensure a good physical or psychological recovery: “I think that the key thing is to identify people’s needs early on to get the best treatment for the client. Even if someone gets an extremely large settlement, their quality of life can still be heavily impacted. We recommend rehabilitation to our clients, to make certain that they are as healthy as they can be, and having a good network of local providers that are catered to the client’s needs always ensures the best outcome.”
Even with a busy schedule, the team at Chris Kallis Solicitors still find the time to support local charities within the area, including The Cavitron Fund and The Dame Hannah Rogers Trust. “We’re very proud to sponsor these charities, and try to support them both financially though sponsorship, as well as spreading awareness of their causes. In the last few years, funding for organisations has diminished, and these charities need our support more than ever”.
The Cavitron Fund was a local charity whose intentions were focused around providing relief and treatment for patients with brain or spinal tumours by the provision of facilities, equipment and healthcare which isn’t normally supported by public funds. Since 1982, the charity has raised over £1,250,000 for equipment at Derriford Hospital, including an image intensifier and guidance system, as well as a rotating operating table made of materials which are invisible to an x-ray.
The other worthy cause that is supported by Chris Kallis Solicitors is The Dame Hannah Rogers Trust, which pursues the simple mission to empower, advocate and enrich the lives of children and adults with disabilities from their two sites in Ivybridge and on the outskirts on Newton Abbot. The facilities include professional therapists, educationalists, expert medical staff and a support team.
In terms of the changes internally with Chris Kallis winding down his involvement with the practice ready for his retirement, Abe explains that the firm is as successful as ever: “There has been a period of transition, and although there have been a few changes it hasn’t affected the quality of service that clients receive. The period of transition has been quite encouraging, with the firm even taking on a new solicitor. For the moment, Chris is still present to advise and oversee, ensuring the last 12 months have been extremely positive”.