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ByDave Stopher

Apr 3, 2023

A NORTH East lawyer is using her unique experience as a midwife to support women through action linked with birth injuries.

Michelle Armstrong is a Partner in the Medical Negligence and Serious Injury team at Burnetts at Dean Street, Newcastle.

And although she represents clients facing a number of issues, it is her seven years spent as a midwife at the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary that give her a real insight into cases specifically linked with problems during birth.

Michelle initially trained as a lawyer working in the corporate sector for ten years but when she became pregnant with her first child, she started to think about a change of career.

Her son was born by emergency C-section and was in real distress, only saved by Michelle’s sixth sense that something was wrong and deciding to go to the hospital.

“He was born with the cord around his neck and arm and if it had gone on for too long I would have lost him,” she said.

Michelle went on to have a daughter and so loved being involved with children that she decided to have a complete change of career – going back to university to study as a midwife.

While she loved that time, Michelle could also see the pitfalls – particularly with limited resources and overstretched staff.

“The sort of midwife I wanted to be I found I couldn’t,” she said.

“I started to think about the ethical, moral and legal areas of childbirth and that really started to interest me.”

Always enjoying the academic side of her career, Michelle went on to study for a Masters in Medical Law and then applied for a job as a birth injury clinical negligence lawyer.

She successful got the post, spending six years there before moving to Burnetts in 2018.

“I loved the law and being able to combine it with something I cared about deeply was the perfect move for me, “ said Michelle.

She now works on a range of cases, but primarily with families where there may be a brain injury as the result of a traumatic birth.

“I think clients appreciate the fact that I have medical knowledge and can explain to them why certain things may have happened,” she said.

“That coupled with the experience I’ve had personally hopefully shows them that I do understand what they’ve been through.

“This is such a satisfying job and I feel a great sense of privilege to be able to do something that I am so passionate about.”

Along with its offices in Newcastle and Hexham, Burnetts has offices in both Carlisle and Cockermouth.

The company operates across a whole host of sectors including both business and personal. Further information is available at www.burnetts.co.uk