Doncaster lawyer celebrates four decades at Atherton Godfrey

Partner and head of litigation at Doncaster-based legal practice Atherton Godfrey LLP is celebrating 40 years at the firm.

This month, John McQuater, one of the region’s best-regarded litigation lawyers, marks 40 years since he started his career at Atherton Godfrey, where he is now responsible for the personal injury, clinical negligence and dispute resolution teams. Sheffield-born, John joined the Doncaster-based practice in January 1982. Having qualified in 1983, John became a partner at Atherton Godfrey just two years later.

John prides himself on offering access to justice for people who have been injured. He cites having helped build the business over the years leading to its acquisition by the Switalskis Group in 2021 amongst his career highlights. He is also proud to have been president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and to have received accredited status as a senior fellow of APIL: the only lawyer in Yorkshire to hold this accolade and one of only eleven people nationally.

A personal injury lawyer for 35 of his 40 years at Atherton Godfrey, John is passionate about the legal industry’s role in levelling up. John says: “It’s important that the legal system remains accessible, treating everyone fairly whatever their background and wherever they are from. People who have suffered injury must be able to access an open and fair justice system that recognises the difficulties faced by an individual tackling a well-resourced financial institution.

"I am proud to help people in Doncaster, across Yorkshire and beyond, secure compensation to help get their lives back on track following serious injury or bereavement. I hope this, in turn, encourages people to take better care of others."

Atherton Godfrey became part of the Switalskis group in January 2021 in a move that put the combined business into the top 150 law firms in the country and created one of the largest law firms in Yorkshire with offices solely in the region. John says: “A year on we are still enormously excited about this positive step for our business. We are a like-minded team of quality lawyers and we are determined to provide the best services, with satisfactory conclusions, for all our clients. There have been many changes in the industry over the years but being part of a forward-looking and flexible business that has accommodated these changes has meant we have continued to move forward and thrive.”

Looking to the future, John says: “I still learn something every day and strive to become a better lawyer and mentor. I hope to do so for many years to come. The last 40 years have flown by. It’s been an incredible journey so far and I feel fortunate to work with excellent colleagues and to have had the privilege of helping clients when they most need support.”

Congratulating John on his 40 year milestone, Switalskis group MD John Durkan says: “John is a tremendous credit to Atherton Godfrey and the Switalskis Group and also to the entire legal profession. His work has changed the lives of many people by giving access to outstanding legal counsel. He has also helped develop the law through cases he has led that have gone to the Court of Appeal. He has an enviable skill set and industry knowledge combined with empathy, integrity and determination to do the right thing for clients. As a growing group we have a strong reputation in claimant services and John’s contribution to the business and his generosity in the support he gives our up-and-coming lawyers is invaluable.”

In addition to his core client work, John provides professional training on subjects including procedure, practice management, clinical negligence and evidence as well as giving regular updates on developments in the law. He is the author of ‘Model Letters for Personal Injury Lawyers’ and the ‘APIL Guide to Personal Injury Claims Procedure’.

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