A 36-year-old man who was rendered tetraplegic after a horrific road traffic accident is set to realise his long-held ambition to become a barrister after being offered a pupillage in an innovative partnership between a law firm and barristers’ Chambers.
Simon Arnold was involved in a serious road traffic accident in 2006, which rendered him tetraplegic. His condition affects all four limbs while he also suffers from the neurological symptoms of his paralysis. He is confined to a power chair, unable to walk and has very limited use of his hands.
Just twelve-months after his accident, having undergone intensive treatment and rehabilitation, Simon set himself the goal of qualifying as a barrister and enrolled on a law degree.
He is now set to achieve that long-held ambition after accepting a pupillage at Hilary Meredith Solicitors – a firm specialising in serious injury claims for military service personnel and veterans. In order to give him the best possible pupillage experience, Simon will complete the first six months non-practising stage of the process with barristers at Exchange Chambers.
Simon’s inspiring story is one of success against all the odds.
In the years after his accident, he completed the Bar Professional Training Course and was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 2012. He then successfully completed a Masters in International Law and Human Rights.
Using his own initiative, Simon secured funding to enable him to employ a personal assistant as well as equipment, particularly IT, to help him work.
In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Simon received an award from Jesse Jackson for overcoming exceptional circumstances. He was also selected for a scholarship, which was personally granted by Lord Snowdon and became an ambassador for Edge Hill University.
In offering him a pupillage Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors, praised Simon’s “remarkable” achievements.
“As a firm of solicitors, we don’t ordinarily offer pupillages but Simon is a truly inspirational individual who has blown us away with his ability, determination and positive outlook.
“Despite being severely disabled, Simon has overcome adversity and hurdles that would have overwhelmed many. His dedication to the law and true ability to adapt and think beyond his physical limitations has allowed him to excel and overcome the odds.
“Simon was initially recommended to us to complete a short period of work experience. We were so impressed we eventually ended up employing him full time. We are now delighted to offer him a pupillage.”
Said Simon Arnold:
“I am absolutely thrilled to be starting a pupillage. It’s been a long journey and there have been difficult times along the way but so many people have supported me. I want to make them all proud.”
Commenting on how his own experience helps him to understand the issues facing seriously injured clients, Simon added:
“I am always careful not to assume that I automatically understand how a person with a serious injury feels. However, I do believe that I can relate to someone with a serious and catastrophic injury, and moreover have some idea of the processes and equipment that they might have to endure or require in the future.
“I believe it is important to know what to prioritise and focus on, in order to secure the best outcome. Additionally, I think it’s essential in the early days of injury to have someone that can plan ahead, because when you are first injured you have no idea of your own abilities or what you might need in the future.”
Said Will Waldron QC from Exchange Chambers:
“I first met Simon not long after his accident and knew of his ambition to become a barrister. I had the pleasure of seeing him take a major step along the way when he was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn, after which I had the privilege of getting to know him well. I have followed his progress closely, helping where I could, and I am absolutely delighted that Hilary Meredith and Exchange Chambers have been able to assist him in achieving the goal he set himself when fate altered the course of his life. In a world in which superlatives are often over-used, I have no hesitation in describing him as inspirational. He richly deserves his success.”
Said Bill Braithwaite QC, Head of Exchange Chambers:
“I advised Simon when he was pursuing a possible claim arising out of his accident, and I, along with those in my Chambers, have done our best to encourage him, and to help him to achieve his ambition.
“Without the commitment of this imaginative firm of solicitors, we would not have been able to do that. The initiative fits in exceptionally well with our values, our knowledge of the impact of disability, and our pupillage academy, designed to cover all aspects of pupillage.
“We look forward to starting him on the practical side of the training, which will be a wonderful experience for him, and for us.”