Our very own Mark Hipkin was recently featured as Business Insight’s Solicitor of the Month. Take a look at his full interview with the magazine below. 

 

Which area of the law do you work in?

I have always lived and practised on Tyneside. I have worked in many areas of the law in the past but have always concentrated on civil litigation and particularly personal injury. I now have a niche practice within our full service legal firm acting for motorcyclists, scooterists and cyclists and all things two-wheeled. I write a light-hearted biker review on a new model of motorcycle or scooter each month in a regional magazine.

 

Did you always envisage a career in the profession?

I did from about the age of 14. My uncle was training to be a lawyer and it seemed a very interesting job. I had also always wanted to join the army and at the age of 25 I was sponsored for a short service commission in an infantry regiment. I eventually decided it was not for me and I should have done it earlier, when I was 18.

 

What has been your career path so far?

I completed my Articles at John Brennan & Co and received a fantastic grounding in dealing with all manner of legal disciplines and people. I was then made a Junior Partner. After nine years I left to start my own business at the age of 31 and was a sole practitioner for 25 years as Hipkin & Co in Whitley Bay. I was approached to merge with Alderson Law LLP and did so in 2015. This enabled me to further develop my niche personal injury practice. I mostly act in complex, often vigorously defended and life-changing, accident cases. I have also had a background in commercial litigation, mergers and acquisitions and dealt with most forms of legal aid in my career. I have lectured start-ups on the legal “do’s and don’ts” of opening their first business. I am still a member of the Law Society’s ‘Lawyers for Your Business’ scheme and I was the Local Law Society’s President in 2011.

 

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

There have been many from my own start-up and 33 years later, it’s now Covid-19. Between that there have been numerous recessions and, like any other business or profession, you have to adapt, look ahead, be flexible and always try to do the right thing. In terms of casework, I took a class action against the owners and the advisors of a scam property investment scheme which took up eight years of my working career and saw all of the claims through to a very good and successful conclusion for all clients. That included an intense three day mediation! Most recently, I have achieved £1M plus compensation packages for seriously injured motorcyclists to enable them to rebuild their lives and obtain single level accommodation so that they are looked after in the future.

 

Who do you most respect in your profession?

I have a respect for values rather than particular people. Sometimes someone in particular will embody those values. It can be a QC, sometimes one of the team of trusted barristers that I use, sometimes it’s the medical and liability experts I use and sometimes it’s my own clients and their witnesses and other times it may be mediators, evaluators and judges. Those who take the time to properly and fully prepare for whatever they need to do, engage with me and the other side, and just do their job properly with no fuss, no edge, are approachable and listen. I am a great fan of all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

 

Which fictional lawyer would you most like to meet?

It would have to be Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. That character, both in film and book form, embodied those qualities.

 

What is your greatest strength?

Perseverance until I achieve a successful outcome or the best outcome possible for each client.

 

What is your biggest weakness?

Never giving up!

 

What are your remaining career aspirations?

The law and the legal profession always changes and will continue to change.It will give me great pleasure to continue and continually do my best in my niche practice area and our firm would like to develop those plans regionally. I would also like to mentor and pass on my experience to younger lawyers and give them a chance to develop and succeed.

 

How do you see your profession evolving in the next 10 years?

I believe the core values and qualities required are the same as when I first walked into a solicitor’s office as an articled clerk in 1980. The way that the work is delivered has changed enormously. I remember that first fax machine, golf-ball typewriters and the first huge PCs and everything before and after. Lawyers, however, are very adaptable and have been throughout the ages. There is no substitute for sound and proper advice, given after a full consideration of the facts and grounded representation to every client.

 

How do you like to unwind?

Apart from my love of two wheels (I have completed the Coast to Coast and Coast and Castles cycle routes and I am now down to just one motorbike!), I enjoy practising martial arts and am a Second Dan in Tang Soo Do (The Way of the Chinese Hand) which is a form of Korean Karate. I also practise Tai Chi and enjoy spending time with my wife Carol, three children, our new grandson and my 16 year old Sprocker Spaniel. Yin and Yang!

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East in 2012 to study at Northumbria University undertaking the M Law Exempting (BPTC) course (the only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Professional Training Course), graduating in 2016 with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Prior to joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm, before moving to another firm to work as a Family Law Paralegal.

In 2018 she joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal, and whilst working full time, undertook a two year Legal Practice course at Sunderland University, qualifying as a Solicitor in November 2021. In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach, watching live music and looking after her pet rabbit.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Anderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family, his faithful sprocket spaniel, and practising Tai Chi and Tang Too Do (Korean karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blythe offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.