'Inspirational' man set to realise long-held ambition of becoming barrister
By Pat Hurst, PA
A man left tetraplegic after a horrific road accident is set to realise his ambition of becoming a barrister.
Simon Arnold, 36, was left confined to a power chair, unable to walk and with very limited use of his hands after the crash in 2006.
But 12 months after having undergone intensive treatment and rehabilitation, he set himself the goal of qualifying as a barrister and enrolled on a law degree.
And more than a decade later he is finally set to realise his long-held ambition of becoming a barrister after being offered a pupillage, thanks to a partnership between a law firm and barristers' chambers in northern England.
Mr Arnold will begin work at Hilary Meredith Solicitors - a firm specialising in serious injury claims for military service personnel and veterans - and spend the first six months non-practising stage of the process with barristers at Exchange Chambers, with offices in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
Mr Arnold said: "I am absolutely thrilled to be starting a pupillage. It's been a long journey and there have been difficult times along the way but so many people have supported me. I want to make them all proud.
"I am always careful not to assume that I automatically understand how a person with a serious injury feels.
"However, I do believe that I can relate to someone with a serious and catastrophic injury, and moreover have some idea of the processes and equipment that they might have to endure or require in the future."
Mr Arnold has also completed the Bar Professional Training Course and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 2012. He then successfully completed a Masters in International Law and Human Rights.
Hilary Meredith, chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors, said: "Despite being severely disabled, Simon has overcome adversity and hurdles that would have overwhelmed many.
"His dedication to the law and true ability to adapt and think beyond his physical limitations has allowed him to excel and overcome the odds.
"Simon was initially recommended to us to complete a short period of work experience. We were so impressed we eventually ended up employing him full time. We are now delighted to offer him a pupillage."
Will Waldron QC, from Exchange Chambers, added: "I first met Simon not long after his accident and knew of his ambition to become a barrister.
"In a world in which superlatives are often over-used, I have no hesitation in describing him as inspirational.
"He richly deserves his success."
Pic by TwentyFour7/PA