Jan Canter is a highly respected Solicitor, largely focussing on catastrophic injuries at Specters Solicitors.
In this Q&A, discover what led Jan to Specters, his impressive experience and additional interests.
What made you want to study law?
I’ve always been interested in Law. My dad was a well-known criminal solicitor in Liverpool (and still is). So as not to clash, I decided to specialise in the world of civil litigation. I initially obtained a degree in History though Birmingham University before travelling and living in Israel for a short time. Upon my return, I was based in London where I took the law conversion course and Solicitors exams.
How did your career start out?
After qualifying, I decided to move back up north where I’m from originally. I began my traineeship with large commercial firm Mace and Jones in Liverpool, who have since merged with Weightmans. My 4 seats there included Commercial, Employment, Family and Claimant Personal Injury. It was here I found I preferred the latter, which offered a greater human dimension. I found it very rewarding to see the improvements in people’s lives on account of what we did.
Where did you go from there?
I then enjoyed a year travelling throughout Asia, before settling into my first position as a qualified Solicitor at Fletchers in Southport. It was here I gained several years of valuable experience in Personal Injury cases. After this time, I moved to Specter and Grant in Birkenhead, where I was made partner after 1 year. The company has experienced quite a few changes in the 22 years I have been part of the team, including a move to Warrington and name change to KLS Law.
What has been your legal case and work experience?
In the earlier years of my career, I acted on behalf of Hillsborough trauma victims, those with employment matters (some very high profile) and Trade Union employees who have suffered serious injury (Mace and Jones).
In the past 22 years at Specters, I have acted on behalf of high-profile clients, some of which were celebrities, in relation to personal injury. I represent insurers in high-value personal injury cases, predominantly focusing on Road Traffic Collision (RTC) cases but also other public liability cases. I also deal with high value clinical negligence cases and high value professional negligence cases involving solicitor negligence.
In saying that, the majority of my work has been representing claimants (mostly cyclists but not exclusively) who have suffered major and catastrophic injury. Most of my cases have a value in excess of £100,000 and, at any one time, I also deal with a few cases in excess of £1 million. In addition, I deal with other cases of lesser value but of a complex category. Many of my cases are High Court cases. I undertake advocacy myself on a number of my cases and am typically in court every few weeks.
What injuries would be considered catastrophic?
Catastrophic cases may include brain injury (all grades and severity), paraplegia, amputation, spinal disorders, limb reconstruction, major RTC trauma cases, accidents at work, public liability cases, severe complex fractures, severe burn cases, facial disfigurement requiring plastic surgery, prosthetics for hands and lower limbs, clinical negligence cases, PTSD and severe depression.
Are you a member of any Associations?
I am a member of APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers), SIA (Spinal Injuries Association), MASS (Motor Accident Solicitors Society) and I’m also on the Law Society Personal Injury Panel.
How do you spend your time outside of the office?
For the past 8 years, I have been working 1 night a week as a CILEX Law Tutor teaching students Tort Law and Civil Litigation at The Law Academy in Liverpool (Private Law College). Here, I also carry out some moderation of other Tutors marking at level 6.
I’ve been a passionate road cyclist most of my life, since getting my first bike at age 6. I rode to London from Liverpool with my friend when I was 14, took to mountain biking in my early 20s and then went back to biking again in my 30s. I enjoy participating in several sportives each year and have been involved in several cycling charity events, raising thousands of pounds.
I love just getting out on the bike and into the country lanes of Cheshire and North Wales, where we also have a family cottage. Despite having traveled extensively, the Welsh cottage remains my favourite place of all, particularly when I’m spending time with my family – my wife, 3 kids and our much-loved two cats.
Do you have a favourite charity or club you support?
The main charity I support is Brain Tumour Research (after my mother passed away from a brain tumour). I’ve been a passionate LFC fan my whole life, standing on the kop since I could first walk. I still attend Anfield when I can. I’m also a member of 2 cycle clubs in Liverpool.
What trends have you seen within the industry?
There are proposed new reforms which will essentially make it more difficult for injured cyclists to access justice. Although they have softened since they were first introduced, they will still mean terrible consequences.
What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?
I contribute to cycling blogs and have had an article published in cycling weekly. I’ve also run in many half marathons, completed 1 full marathon (New York 2010), raising thousands for charity on some events.