The Team

Jo Darlington
Jo Darlington

Jo Darlington

Head of Brain Injury - APIL Accredited (Senior Litigator)

Jo Darlington heads up the Serious Injury Team in our Bristol office. She specialises in the most complex and significant of personal injuries for both adults and children. Jo has been in practise in Bristol for 24 years and is recognised by APIL as a Senior Litigator, a Brain Injury Specialist and is also one of the first solicitors in the country to be accredited by APIL as a Brain Injury Assessor. This means Jo assesses other solicitors for their competence in this field and has lectured trainee solicitors on the Professional Skills Course at the University of the West of England for 18 years.  . In the last year she has obtained £12.5 million in compensation for clients.

Outside the office Jo enjoys reading detective novels and visiting France.

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Melanie Ford
Melanie Ford

Melanie Ford

Solicitor

Melanie is a Solicitor who qualified in September 2010 and joined the Brain Injury Team at New Law Solicitors in July 2011. Melanie specialises in representing the interests claimants who have sustained a brain injury.

She has experience in working in cases involving a range of head injuries from minor ones which may resolve over a short period of time, to serious brain injuries which may have catastrophic long term effects.

Melanie graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Law and Criminology in 2003 before taking a gap year to travel round the world, including visits to Austria, New Zealand, Thailand and the United States. She returned to Cardiff in 2004 to complete the Legal Practice Course. She now specialises in Brain Injury cases her experience covers simple road traffic accidents to more complex accidents at work, public liability claims and complex brain and orthopaedic injuries.

In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading, and eating out with friends. She is a member of two book clubs and a cake club. She likes to stay fit and is a member of her local gym attending regular yoga, Zumba and kick boxing classes.

Sonia Hodges
Sonia Hodges

Sonia Hodges

Solicitor - APIL Accredited (Senior Litigator)

Sonia qualified as a solicitor in 1996. She was head of personal injury before joining NewLaw in March 2013. Sonia is an APIL accredited senior litigator and specialises in brain injury claims, including those requiring high levels of care and case management. 

Sonia is a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel. She joined Headway Luton as a Trustee in 2012. She was appointed Chair between 2014 and 2015 and remains on the Board of Trustees.

In her spare time, Sonia enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and one exuberant border terrier called Ottoline. She has also kept up her passion for long distance running, completing many Marathons to date (and still going strong!).

Laura Metcalfe
Laura Metcalfe

Laura Metcalfe

Solicitor

Laura joined NewLaw Solicitors in October 2011 within the fast track personal injury department, as a paralegal on the specialist motorcycle team. Prior to working at Newlaw, Laura gained 4 years experience from working for another legal firm.  

In 2013 Laura was awarded a Training Contract with NewLaw and qualified as a Solicitor in April 2015. She works within the Brain Injury team and specialises in representing the interests of claimants who have sustained brain injuries. 

Originally from Cornwall, Laura studied for her Law Degree at the University of Exeter and then moved to Cardiff where she completed the Legal Practice Course.      

Outside of work Laura enjoys reading, going to the theatre and socialising with friends. 


Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas

Solicitor - APIL Accredited (Senior Litigator)

Rob is a Director of NewLaw Trustees Ltd and specialises in catastrophic injury claims and in particular adult and child brain injury cases.  Rob also acts as Professional Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection to assist people in managing their financial affairs after they have lost mental capacity.

Rob joined NewLaw in January 2009 having previously been a partner in the catastrophic injury team at a neighbouring Cardiff firm.  He is a graduate of Reading University and undertaken further study at The University of Glamorgan and Iowa State University in the USA.

In 2004 Rob became a Trustee of the Child Brain Injury Trust and is now chair of that organization.  He is also the chair of the Prop Appeal raising money for the neuro-rehabilitation unit at Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff and an active supporter of Headway Bridgend having sat on the steering committee.  

He is well travelled having spent time in Canada, the USA and Mexico. He now lives with his wife and two children in Cardiff. His interests include Radyr Rangers FC, rugby, skiing and is attempting his first triathlon.  Rob is also a qualified fork lift truck driver.

Rob Thomas is recommended by The Legal 500

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Judith Brightman
Judith Brightman

Judith Brightman

CILEX - APIL Accredited (Senior Litigator)

Judith qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2004 and is recognised by APIL as a Senior Litigator. Judith has been working within the Bristol brain injury unit since May 2013 representing claimant’s in multiple forms of personal injury

During her career she has represented clients involved in road traffic accidents, accidents at work and accidents involving public areas.  She has assisted clients in claims against the Motor Insurers Bureau where the other driver is uninsured or cannot be traced and she has represented clients making an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. 

Outside of the office Judith enjoys running. She ran the London Marathon in 2010 raising over £3,000 for Headway UK and the Great North Run  in 2014 to raise funds for her local Headway branch. 

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Ian Cummings
Ian Cummings

Ian Cummings

APIL Accredited (Senior Litigator)

Ian has worked in personal injury litigation since 1995. Since then he has practised exclusively for claimants conducting personal injury claims. Ian joined NewLaw in 2016 where he continues to specialise in acquired brain injury and fatal accident claims. Ian was the West Midlands coordinator for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers for 4 years prior to joining the Brain Injury Unit within the Serious Injury Team at NewLaw Solicitors.

Outside of work Ian enjoys football, both watching Southampton FC and coaching a children’s football team (for which his son plays) and holds the Football Association’s Level 2 coaching qualification.


Julie Sutton
Julie Sutton

Julie Sutton

Welfare Manager

Julie Sutton is an Accredited Counsellor with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and is a Fellow of the Institute of Welfare (IOW).  She has gained extensive experience in supporting individuals who have been affected by trauma, bereavement, personal injury and mental health issues. 

Julie said, “Every day is different and every case is different with its own complexities. Looking at client’s needs from an emotional perspective to assisting clients at their most vulnerable time is humbling and rewarding.”

Julie provides support to our clients all over England and Wales with experience of brain injury and orthopaedic injuries, supporting families in their times of need, especially in the case of fatal road accidents.

The support offered by Julie is an integral part of the our client care and she ensures that the solicitors have regular welfare support updates to ensure the client’s needs are being met.

Julie’s primary aim is to help our client’s regain independence and resume control over their lives.

In her spare time, Julie enjoys the theatre, swimming and learning classical guitar (badly!).

Mike Tonkin
Mike Tonkin

Mike Tonkin

Welfare Manager

Mike Tonkin is a registered Social Worker with the Care Council of Wales, has extensive experience in assessment, case management and supporting individuals with physical disability, spinal cord injury and brain injury.

Mike said, “I enjoy assisting those who need support and helping them regain independence and bring dignity back in their lives. We don’t work 9-5 as we want to offer a service that’s flexible to our client’s needs, wherever they are.”

Mike provides support to our clients all over England and Wales with experience of brain injury and orthopaedic injuries, supporting families in their times of need, especially in the case of fatal road accidents.

The support offered by Mike is an integral part of the our client care and he ensures the solicitors have regular welfare support updates to ensure the client’s needs are being met.

Mike’s primary aim is to help our client’s regain independence and resume control over their lives.


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