Inspirational and determined are words people use when talking about Derry solicitor, Gareth McCay.
In 2010, Gareth’s life changed forever when he suffered a horrific accident.
The accident left Gareth quadriplegic and he had to have his left leg amputated from above the knee.
Gareth showed promise on the football pitch growing up but an on the field injury put a stop to any potential career in football.
The thought of playing football professionally is something that preoccupies the minds of many a young boy growing up but as soon as Gareth realised his dream was over he started to identify other ways of making him happy.
Gareth was an extremely bright pupil at St. Columb’s College and on leaving the school he went on to study law at the University of Leeds, Queen’s University Belfast and at Manchester Metropolitan University.
After completing his studies Gareth went on to work for JMW Solicitors in Manchester but two years later was snapped up straight away by leading law firm, Tughans Solicitors in Belfast. However, a few years later, disaster struck and his life changed forever as a result of the accident.
At the time of the accident, Tughans had an office in Derry which meant Gareth could work but a month before he was due to return to work the law firm closed the local office.
Gareth’s mobility is limited and he has to uses a wheelchair or crutches to move about.
Gareth left Tughans in August last year as he was increasingly required to be in Belfast but didn’t want to travel.
“The way I looked at what happened me was that I could either do something about it myself or sit in the house and mope.
“The accident in 2010 affected me physically but there’s nothing wrong with my brain which has led to me taking the decision to open my own law firm in Derry.”
McCay Solicitors opened their doors to the public for the first time on Monday and yesterday the signage was completed.
“Going it alone is quite daunting but I am also really excited,” said Gareth.
McCay Solicitors is located in Strand House on the Strand Road and they specialise in employment law and commercial dispute resolution as well as personal injury, medical negligence and many other areas of modern law.
“I believe when it comes to employment law and commercial dispute resolution McCay Solicitors has a lot to offer Derry. During my time working in Belfast I noticed a lot of businesses in Derry came the whole way to Belfast for representation when it came to employment law and commercial dispute resolution.
“I am of the opinion that if Derry is to progress and develop then Derry business must try their best to use other Derry businesses when and if they can.
“It works both ways because if money which used to go to Belfast starts trickling into Derry then the knock-on effect will be economic development.”
At the minute, Gareth and his wife Colleen, manage McCay Solicitors but it is Gareth’s aim to recruit within the next 12 months.
“All I need now is for the work to start coming and then with a bit of luck, if we can cover ourselves for the first year or so I would like to start employing other people sooner rather than later.
“I don’t for one moment think the world owes me a living. What happened me was awful but like I said I can sit and feel sorry for myself or I can try and take control of my life and continue on with my passion for law.
“Obviously I am also keen to assist people with disabilities, particularly spinal injuries. Given my own experience I know the legal side of this extremely well.”
McCay Solicitors has an excellent working relationship with other law firms in the city and it is Gareth’s hope that these relationships will continue to go from strength to strength.
“I honestly believe that I would still be working in Belfast if it hadn’t have been for the accident back in 2010 but it happened and there’s nothing I can do about it.
“Opening any business is always going to be scary but I honestly believe that McCay Solicitors has a lot to offer the business community of Derry. Here’s hoping 2015 is a good one,” he said smiling.
For more information on McCay Solicitors visit their website www.mccaysolicitors.co.uk or office reception 02871 271120 or mobile 07880343687