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Barton Checks In With… Matt Gatenby

In this edition, Paul Barton checks in for a virtual coffee with Matt Gatenby, Senior Partner & Head of Litigation at Travlaw, to find out a bit more about how he got into travel law and why he enjoys it so much.

How did you become involved with travel law?

Largely by accident! Having completed a Geography degree I initially took a customer services role at what was then Thomas Cook’s burgeoning tour operating business dealing with complaints and claims. One thing lead to another in the sense that I progressed within the business to the point where a spot in their in-house legal team was the next obvious step, and at that point I was part of the travel law business! I was fortunate to be able to hone my skills in a supportive environment of excellent colleagues, and the rest is, as they say, history.

What’s your stand out moment as a travel lawyer?

There have been a few, but perhaps being able to get a really excellent result for an uninsured client in a multi-million pound personal injury claim that was brought against them. Ultimately we as a team were convinced that the business itself was blame free, but understood the Claimant’s desire to push the case. The positive result was securing a contested indemnity against a supplier so that said supplier could take the claim and do what they wanted, leaving our client to celebrate not being forced out of business as a result.

What’s the most exciting location travel law has taken you to?

One of the perks of being involved heavily with the travel industry is being able to attend many of the overseas conferences that take place when there isn’t a global pandemic going on. Similarly, many of our clients are not UK based, so client meetings often become a lot more exotic, which is something I am ever grateful for.

Tell us about an interesting case you’ve worked on.

Again, we are fortunate to have a lot to pick from here. In many ways the more complex and technically challenging cases tend to skew towards being the most interesting. So, in recent times we worked with Sarah Crowther QC on a particularly demanding Equality Act claim, and taking a large recovery claim fraught with technical issues to a successful outcome at trial with Dan Clarke both stand out.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

There are a lot of things. No day is ever the same, that is for sure. I think most lawyers take, rightfully, a lot of pride and fulfilment for working hard for their clients – positive results obviously being the high point. However, the people I have always worked with, historically and now have really made the difference.

What would you be if you weren’t a travel lawyer?

Good question. But for the travel business connection I don’t actually think I would have ended up in law!

Originally I had designs on working in training or HR, but perhaps teaching of some sort – certainly I think that is the kind of role that, if I could do it justice, would be a satisfying career.

This article featured in our Summer Travel E-Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Find out more

Practice Director Paul Barton is the clerking driving force behind our International Injury and Travel Group. Paul has been instrumental in developing the team for over ten years and has proven to be a vital bridge between our valued clients and our barristers. He has a keen understanding of the travel law market and is an active PEOPIL member. Please contact Paul on +44 (0)207 427 4907 or paul.barton@outertemple.com for further information.

Matt Gatenby is part of the leadership team at Travlaw. His day-to-day work see Matt proud to serve a vast array of tour operators, travel agents, trade associations, insurers and their underwriters. His skill-set encompasses all levels of work, not only the complex multi-track matters which he attracts so many instructions for, but also various other civil litigation cases which clients trust in the firm to handle.

News, Travel 2 Jul, 2021

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