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‘An excellent reputation...’
Alison Somek is CEO of Somek and Associates. She set the company up in 1997, having worked in the National Health Service for over 20 years, as an occupational therapist. She has been writing expert witness reports on care and occupational therapy since the 80s – pre Woolf! Alison has seen the medico-legal environment change dramatically over this period, but has always been passionate about professionalism and independence in her role as an expert witness, and continues to ensure that this, and the integrity of the expert witness, is embodied in the work of the associates and the company as a whole.
In 1997, the company had just two associates, both occupational therapists, and by 2017 the number is nearer two hundred, and now includes nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, and other allied health professions. This is reflective of the growth in need for expert witnesses in a range of health care professions allied to medicine, as well as the high regard for Alison and the team at Somek and Associates. We don’t just provide “an expert witness report” we provide a quality service to both clients and associates!
Due to the expansion, in 2009, the company was incorporated, and moved to our current location of large modern offices in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, where the provision of high quality services can be facilitated.
Since 2010 the senior management team has been expanded to allow the further development of the associate base to meet our clients’ needs, whilst ensuring the highest quality of work and that excellent standards are maintained.
Jessica Thurston, Medico-Legal Services Manager joined the team in 2010, having been an associate and expert witness since 2001. Jessica, also an occupational therapist and care expert with many years’ experience, continues to undertake some expert witness work but she is predominantly responsible for setting and maintaining standards, developing and running the comprehensive training programme and supervising the supervisors.
Expert witnesses are very carefully recruited via a stringent recruitment process. Through our own education and experience, and in conjunction with medico-legal lawyers, we have developed our own comprehensive training programme to enable our “experts” to become “expert witnesses”. They are fully trained by us in the role of the expert witness and the Civil Procedure Rules (and all components relating to CPR 35, PD and the related Guidance), report writing, courtroom skills and other specific aspects of the role.
Jessica manages our team of supervisors who are all experienced clinicians and experienced expert witnesses from a range of professional backgrounds, including occupational therapy, nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy, and whose aim it is to ensure reports are quality assessed and associates are supported.