Law Society Council Nomination: Personal Statement

I am 38 years of age, I am married and have 3 children aged between 3yrs and 7 yrs. I live In North Manchester. I was born in Manchester and have lived and worked here all my life.
I qualified as a solicitor in 2002, however, I had worked for a law firm, in a mainly fee earning role for 5 years prior to that, since I was 18yrs of age, and I studied for my University of London Law degree via correspondence whilst I worked gaining experience in a multi-disciplinary practice. I made partner almost as soon as I qualified and continued for some time in a quasi management/fee earning role.

Before I left the firm in 2004 I was undertaking a mix of work; anything from personal injury, commercial contracts, conveyancing to criminal defence. I wanted to concentrate, however, on criminal defence work and so joined an exclusively legal aid practice where I remained for three years before then setting up my own firm in 2007 where I continue to practise. In addition to a full time fee earning role I am also the director responsible for the day to day management of the firm.

Until recently I had 2 co-directors, one has recently retired from ownership. The practice has 2 offices, one in Manchester and the other in Macclesfield. Historically we have undertaken a mixed work load, always with an emphasis on the type of work that affects the individual; conveyancing, employment, criminal defence, personal injury, wills and probate etc. However, in more recently we have scaled back and have chosen to concentrate on the key areas of personal injury and criminal defence.

Of the work we undertake, I prefer the criminal defence work. I am drawn to the variety of the work, the sense of never knowing what the next phone call will bring and the fact that this area of work, probably more than any other field causes me to travel (regionally at least) and meet so many different people in and outside of the profession just as part of the job. The fact I thoroughly enjoy representing the under-dog and formulating and presenting arguments in court certainly helps.

My father is a lawyer and so perhaps I grew up with a natural sense of justice and appreciation of our legal system. Nevertheless, I am deeply proud of our system and will fight fiercely to protect it. I joined the Criminal Law Solicitors Association last year because of my concerns over the current Government’s intended reforms to the provision of legal aid. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the committee and hope to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

As a passionate and committed person with plenty of fight in me, by being elected to Council I intend to take advantage of the opportunity to focus the Society on issues relevant to legal Aid and access to justice generally. I feel very strongly that the citizens of this Country be afforded the adequate protections in law from state bodies and I consider it a key function of the Law Society to fight to protect those rights.

I have become increasingly concerned at the level of interference in our legal system that this particular government has demonstrated. It is not just the arena of criminal law that concerns me, the restrictions to legal aid in the fields of family law and immigration leave the most vulnerable in society without recourse against a far stronger opponent. The Planned reforms to Judicial review proceedings only further hinder the aggrieved from taking appropriate action.

I have explained briefly my background above because I want those with the opportunity to vote for me to recognise that in addition to a passion for the rights of those our profession represents , I also understand the commercial considerations of law firm owners and the issues relevant to the employees. I believe I am in strong position to properly represent the interests of members due to my multi-disciplinary background, management experience and commitment to access to justice.

If elected I will work hard and fight objectively to promote the interest of members and their clients.