Getting to know you – Janet Tilley

Getting to know you - Janet TilleyGetting to know you - Janet TilleyWe ask our current Treasurer and past Chair some questions so we can say we are “Getting to know you – Janet Tilley”.

Why MASS

I have always strongly believed in the work MASS does in helping injured Claimants, but I was probably most motivated to become Chair in 2000 because of the value I placed on learning my craft as an RTA/PI Professional from some of the most experienced and respected Lawyers in the Industry. The chance to network, share experiences and keep myself updated on the Law was invaluable. I think the opportunity to shape future Lawyers from trainees to Partners to achieve their potential as great RTA Lawyers became my platform as Chair and the foundation of the MASS Training arm of the Society. My passion for helping unlock individual potential continues a I currently train as a Business Coach and work with the Society as Treasurer
flying the flag for experienced representation as we face Revolutionary Reform.

Why the law?

At 18 I didn’t really want to leave home and go to University. I lasted a week on an American History course at Lancaster University (all of 18.9 miles away from home). A family friend got me an interview for a full-time job as a 5-year trainee in a law firm. It could have been a job in anything, and I would have gone for it as long as I could stay at home – so no I did not have a calling or long held ambition to practice law! I did however have confidence I would be offered the job and amazed when I wasn’t. Instead the interviewing Partner made me a deal – if I went and got a law degree, he would take me on as his trainee when I finished and would give me holiday work for the next 4 years. We shook on it and the rest is history.

Best win in Court/most important win to date?

I have no high-profile cases in my background only wins that were important to me. I was very much involved in the early rehabilitation initiatives and worked with some enlightened claims managers who made a tremendous difference to the quality of life of several of my seriously injured clients. The knowledge that we had made such a difference was the best kind of “win” to me.

Thoughts on the implications of the Civil Liability Act

I am uncomfortable and concerned that genuine claimants with not insignificant injuries may be left floundering around in a system that does not allow for competent representation, remains too complicated to navigate and offers no independent  assessment of damages. My hope is the MOJ takes note of concerns raised in consultation and takes time to ensure that the needs of injured claimants remain at the centre of change.

What 3 items would you take to a desert island?

My dog Alfie (he wouldn’t let me leave him behind!), a large supply of chilli con carne and a bottle of gin.

What’s your claim to fame?

In 1972 I set fire to George Carmen QC when he was sitting as a circuit Judge at Preston Crown Court. If you
want to know the details ask me when you next see me!

What’s the best and worst piece of advice you have ever received?

Best Advice – “Get a Degree”. My old Training Partner was right.

Worse Advice – I was advised not to buy my first one bedroom flat in London in 1973 at £18k as I would not get my money back on sale. I went ahead anyway. As it is currently on the market for £395k (not in my ownership) I think I made the right decision!

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?

Are we STILL in Europe?

Superstitions?

All the old ones. In particular throw salt over your shoulder to avoid 7 years bad luck if you break a mirror. Just to be on
the safe side I do it whenever I break any glass!

Best ever holiday or place you have visited?

Savannah and Nashville. I was born to be a Southern Belle; I love the USA and country music. My greatest regret is not
finishing that American History degree!

First car?

A Volkswagon Beetle. So old it had no fuel gauge and an 8-volt engine which meant very dim headlights leading to my first RTA. I missed a bend in the dark and went over the side of a bridge.

Favourite song/artist?

Girl Goin Nowhere written and sung by Ashley McBride. A relatively new country music singer. The song is inspirational – don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t” all you need is determination and focus and you can succeed at anything.

Favourite book?

“Ode to Billy Jo” by Herman Raucher. I like any book that is well written, doesn’t matter about the genre. This one makes me laugh out loud.

Best TV boxset or movie?

For many years it has been the Bodyguard. Whitney’s voice is something else and I’m a big Kevin Costner fan. It has however got competition from a film that came out last month, Wild Rose.

Favourite drink?

Gin and tonic providing it’s Bombay Saffire and Fevertree.

Favourite food?

Chilli con carne. My all-time favourite was avocado. I could eat it every meal and it definitely would have come to the
desert island had I not suddenly had an allergic reaction to it a few years back. I miss my daily fix!

What is the first thing you like to do with your free time?

Listen to country music (I am listening to the Wild Rose soundtrack right now) and read, read and read!

What annoys you?

Waiting for food in a restaurant when I am hungry. Being made to wait and served out of turn in favour of later
arrivals sends me over the top!

Thoughts on Brexit?

My daughters and their friends consider themselves European. For their sake I am a committed remainer. I believe the future belongs to their generation not mine.


This article first appeared in MASS Insight Magazine, Spring 2019


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MASS promotes the highest standards of legal services through education and representation in the pursuit of justice for victims of road traffic accidents.