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Conveyancing 0191 260 6571
New Enquiries 0344 854 7000
Existing Enquiries 0191 232 1123
Conveyancing 0191 260 6571

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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

8 March 2024

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The 8th March 2024 is International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day dating back to 1911, dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. 

This year’s campaign theme is “Inspire Inclusion”. 

We mark the significance of today by celebrating the achievements and careers of some of the women in our firm and shine a light on some of the rising stars in the hope they in turn can inspire others in the field of law. 

Caroline Houghton, Partner 

A working mum of 2, Caroline has been with True Solicitors since 2002. 

In February 2023 she took on the newly formed Housing Disrepair department, one of the fastest growing areas within the firm. An enviable multitasker, Caroline is also a key member of the Business Development team, developing new routes of enquiries and bringing in several major accounts.    

A well-respected member of the team and in recognition of her commitment, Caroline recently added leadership of our First Response Team to her ever-expanding role along with taking the lead on our internal training programme for staff, ensuring talent is nurtured and developed within the firm. 

And if that isn’t enough to keep her busy, she is also the key contact point for many of the firm’s suppliers, including medical agencies, engineers, introducers and surveyors.  

A passionate advocate for spotting new legal talent, Caroline is also heavily involved in the annual recruitment of new paralegals. 

Ellen Noke, Litigation Executive  

When Ellen left school at 16 she did not know what she wanted to do as a career, finding it tough to make a decision on a career path when she had never experienced life outside of school. She knew that her passion was to help people and make money to help her family, and she secured an apprenticeship in a law firm in the post room. 

What at first seemed to be just a job where she was getting further qualifications, Ellen spotted an opportunity for progression within the firm and with some encouragement, she became a file handler on the Credit hire department.  During her time in this team, Ellen quickly discovered that she loved running files, negotiating and using case law which sparked her passion for law.  She decided to enrol herself in a part-time law degree, meaning she could study while working, and she is now just 1 month away from completing this degree. 

During her time at TRUE, Ellen has continued to gain experience in multiple departments starting as an assistant on EL/PL and progressing to a fee earner on the RTA portal team. The creation of the new Housing Disrepair department provided the catalyst for Ellen’s next move which she describes as “a brand-new area of law which I knew absolutely nothing about but quickly realised I loved the job and wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I knew straight away this is the area of law which really excites me and feels like this is where I belong”.  

Working on housing disrepair cases has opened Ellen’s eyes to the horrendous conditions some people are forced to live in. Conditions you could never imagine raising a family or even living normally day by day. It is unfortunately, usually low rental income clients who suffer from disrepair who simply cannot afford to move or do any of the repairs themselves so have no other choice but to expose themselves to hazards and continue living with the disrepair. Ellen feels that the work we do is so important to help our clients get out of the poor conditions and hold the landlord accountable and make them do the repairs they are obligated to do. Without solicitors’ intervention, many clients would live in silence and continue to live in mould, damp, leaks, unsafe conditions which could have a detrimental impact on their health which has recently been seen in the sad case of Awwab Issak who sadly passed away due to damp and mould.  

Ellen has recently been promoted in the department to Supervisor and she hopes to be able to continue to help and develop the department in the future.   

Ellen pays testament to the influences in her life from her mam, dad, sister, grandparents, boyfriend and all of the incredible people she works alongside. “They have inspired me to keep going no matter how hard the situation is and taught me that everything happens for a reason and there is always a way to solve an issue.  I would not be the person I am today without their strong influences.” 

Alix Walker, Head of Clinical Negligence 

Alix has worked at True for almost four years and is head of the Clinical Negligence Department. 

There was no Ally McBeal style inspired moment for Alix deciding on her career path as she always knew she wanted to be a solicitor. Knowing she wanted to go to university away from the northeast Alix completed her degree at Luton University, which whilst offering an excellent law course was sufficiently close to London to go exploring (bearing in mind it was in the days when there was no social media or Google!) 

Alix went on to complete the legal practice course diploma at the University of Westminster, when she was feeling more adventurous, which allowed her to strike a balance between a demanding course and sightseeing and socialising. 

On returning to the northeast Alix completed her training contract in 2005 and went on to complete her master’s degree in medical law at the University of Northumbria. 

Over the years Alix has worked predominantly in serious injury and clinical negligence, before moving to TRUE in 2020 as part of an expanding Clinical Negligence Department. Alix became head of the department in April 2022 and is now responsible for overseeing its day to day running, supervising staff, assessing prospects on new claims and managing the development of the team, she also deals with very high value and complex clinical negligence claims (including complex birth injury claims and amputations). 

As part of the True team Alix is helpful and approachable, she invests time in her clients to ensure they are guided through their claim in what is often a time of uncertainty. 

Alix is inspired in work by her desire to provide access to justice to people who have been impacted by clinical negligence. She has a pragmatic approach to claims and strives to get the best result, instilling the same attitude in her team. 

Priding herself on working efficiently, Alix is currently reviewing working practices in her department to ensure the firm can deal with changes to clinical negligence. 

Outside of work Alix is inspired by travelling, which has gained her the nickname of Judith Chalmers (for those old enough to remember who she is!), one of her favourite holidays being a safari in Kenya with the weirdest experience coming with some near-death encounters in Ethiopia (including being chased by hippos!), she likes to balance this with more relaxing holidays in Menorca or visiting family in Austria. 

Karen Hindmarch, Partner 

Karen began her legal career qualifying back in 1998 and has been with TRUE for over 27 years, making her one of the longest serving members of the team. Her initial career ambitions were focussed on medicine, but a change of heart saw her join True Solicitors LLP in 1996 and subsequently take up a training contract in the firm.  

She has many years of experience in complex injury cases and displays an unwavering commitment to helping clients seek the redress they deserve and to help rebuild their lives.  

Outside of her demanding role at the firm, Karen is a keen sportswoman, and is the Chairman at Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club where she has been a member of the hockey section for over 35 years. 

Toni Hall, Solicitor 

Toni recently celebrated her 3-year anniversary with TRUE. 

Having always known that she wanted to be a Solicitor, Toni attended Northumbria University where she was enrolled on the MLaw course. Having previously lived out in the sticks, attending University saw Toni move into the city to enjoy the social life (until the pandemic hit). Despite then being in a national lockdown, Toni graduated from Northumbria University with a first-class master’s degree in June 2020. 

A few months later, in January 2021, Toni joined True as a Paralegal in the Clinical Negligence Department. Despite working fully from home, she quickly settled into the team and her role. Her keen interest in her work then saw her selected for a training contract in March 2022. Toni then qualified as a Solicitor in September 2023 and continues to work in the Clinical Negligence Department running her own case load which includes claims relating to surgical negligence, orthopaedic claims, and delays in diagnosing cancer. She also assists senior solicitors with complex high value cases, including cerebral palsy claims. 

Toni’s approachable nature and keen eye for detail makes her a valued member of the team. She efficiently progresses her own cases, whilst providing support to junior members of the team with files in the early stages. She is driven by her desire to achieve just compensation for those who have suffered due to clinical negligence. 

Outside of work Toni loves to travel. Having previously travelled Europe, Thailand, Vietnam and China, she loves the adventure that comes with being exposed to new cultures and environments. A highlight for Toni was walking through the Forbidden City in Beijing. Whilst at home Toni loves going to the beach with her fur baby, Penny. Luckily between Northumberland and Tyneside we are spoilt for choice! 

Toni’s head of department Alix Walker says; 

 Toni is a very well respected and hard-working member of the team. She is thorough and efficient in her working practice dealing with her work in a proactive and conscientious manner 

Dominique O’Neill-Roper, File Handler

Before going to University, Dominique was unsure what her chosen career path would be. She did know she sought a career path that would challenge her, as well as one that would make her feel accomplishment with a lot of scope for progression. Dominique felt “The law is everchanging and is a powerful source for making good in society. I wanted to be part of those enforcing the law to bring this good, hence I made the decision to complete my degree in Law. I am now using my education and knowledge to assist others in bringing claims for injustices, changing their lives for the better.”

Initially Dominique joined TRUE Solicitors LLP in June 2022, beginning as a Paralegal in our road traffic accident department, before shortly after moving to the new housing disrepair department as the only Paralegal which she saw as a huge compliment.  In September 2022, she was then promoted to a File Handler before securing a coveted training contract a year later where she is currently completing her first seat in housing disrepair.

Dominique goes on to describe why her role means so much to her and why she feels a sense of achievement..

“Working in this department is very important to me because for most people, their home is their safe place and their place of comfort. At home, you should feel at peace and enjoy your surroundings. However, this is not the case for all people. A lot of people who rent properties from Housing Associations or Councils live in disrepair through no fault of their own. This not only causes discomfort but can also have a severe impact on an individual’s mental and physical health/wellbeing, which is a serious cause for concern. Knowing that I can apply my knowledge to assist these individuals in bringing a claim, with the intention of reaching an agreement to complete repairs within a specified timeframe and pay the client compensation for the distress and inconvenience caused, is very important to me and certainly provides a sense of achievement. In my view, every settled file is a life changed.”


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