This Women in Subro blog series highlights powerhouse women in the industry while discussing leadership, management, and success in subrogation. In our interview with Natalie Cooksammy, Chair of the United Kingdom/European Region of Cozen O’Connor’s Subrogation & Recovery Department and Office Managing Partner of the London office, we recognize and appreciate that her professional focus is on fee earning and client development.
Natalie has been with the firm for 15 years and represents as the firm’s first female subrogation chair in the department.
Q: How do you describe subrogation to friends and family?
A: I explain that as a subrogator, I work with insurance companies to hold those responsible for causing others loss and damage financially accountable. Subrogation makes the world a safer place. I explain, that I am saving the world, one case at a time.
Q: How many lawyers does it take to turn off the water?
A: I had one subrogation case involving a burst water pipe in a well-known law library. The incident occurred outside “normal” working hours, and although the library was packed with lawyers working, no one knew how to turn the water off. As a result, significant damage was caused. By the detailed witness statements, I could just imagine everyone running around screaming, and protecting their work, and waiting by the door for help to arrive.
Q: Generally, how is Subro different in UK v. US?
A: It differs in lots of ways. In England, we have a loser pays rule, which means that if you file suit and lose, you have to pay the winning party’s legal fees. As a result, cases are only put in suit as a last resort. All parties must demonstrate to the court that they did everything possible to avoid litigation by complying with numerous pre-action procedures to agreed facts and narrow issues. Failure to do this results in financial penalties. Whilst this may seem attractive, the flip side is that there are no nuisance offers. Liable parties will either pay because they are indeed liable, or they will go to court.
Q: Most rewarding/exciting/interesting part of your job?
A: Definitely making a settlement. Negotiating a deal or getting a favourable judgement never gets old.
Q: How have you excelled in the industry?
A: I have had excellent support from a number of key clients who continue to instruct me. I have never taken this loyalty for granted. I know that in any subrogation practice, results and responsiveness really do count to the clients. Plus, I really do love what I do.
Q: What makes a good leader?
A: Everyone has different strengths. In my opinion, a good leader is someone that recognizes the strengths in themselves and others, and matches those strengths to the goal – ensuring that credit is firmly given to those who deserve it. Let people shine, and they will shine brighter.
Q: Do you have any tech tips for workplace efficiency?
A: The practice and business of law is radically changing. In recent years, there has been a massive acceleration in lawtech adoption, but I believe that we are only on the cusp of a massive technological revolution. As the world’s assets (monetary and non-monetary) becomes digitalized, and blockchain technology combines with artificial intelligence, the practice and delivery of legal services will radically change. Our clients’ requests for “on demand” legal services will only increase.
Therefore, my tech tip to improve workplace efficiency is to recognize the importance of mobile technology, and ensure that everyone has the tools (and knowledge) to work seamlessly without being chained to an office, desk or time zone. [Natalie is always ahead of the game; this interview was taken pre-pandemic and she knew the advantages and needs of not being chained to an office.]
We thank Natalie Cooksammy for this interview and for being a true leader in our firm and in the industry! Natalie is a leader with positivity, appreciation, and humor.
We leave you with this video clip, as according to Natalie, the subro theme song should be “Seal the Deal.”
Stay tuned for the next post highlighting another prominent subro leader.