When I was fourteen, I decided that I wanted to be a solicitor when I grew up. I remember the moment quite clearly. I was in music lesson with Mr Storey ( who turned out to be the teacher who had the most influence on my life in many other ways too). The thought just came to me. I wasn’t even sure what being a solicitor involved but it was exciting and I have always loved to have a goal so that was that. I went home and told my parents and everyone seemed to approve. The die was cast.
Now that I had my goal it gave things a greater structure. I did arts and languages for my “O” levels including Latin ( for all those tags). This lead to a similar theme with “A” levels- English for language, History for independent thinking and research, French because I was good at it and I needed high grades!
From school to university where I studied law. This was the least satisfactory part of my grand plan. I didn’t enjoy my course as much as I had hoped and found my fellow students to be generally silly and immature.This makes me sound dreadfully boring but actually I had a highly developed sense of responsibility so I never missed a lecture, cleaned the flat when it was my turn and never spent more money than I had. All these things meant that I missed out on what students usually did and I found the whole experience a bit odd.
The “Milk Round” came to town and firms of high profile lawyers all set about interviewing bunches of prospective articled clerks and creaming off the brightest or most interesting candidates. I had decided that the bright lights of London weren’t calling to me. I already had a place at Law School there and felt that that was enough to get the measure of the place. At that time the second legal centre in the country was Leeds, sadly a little close to home for my liking but with my sights set high as usual I tried to shine in my interviews and came away with a couple of offers. One was from Booth and Co, a large firm by the standards of the day with rich cream and blue vellum notepaper which felt heavy and important. I accepted the offer and finished my degree.
Law School was much, much better. This was what I had thought it was all about. Finding solutions to problems, thinking round issues, being “commercial “. It was by far and away the most challenging of my academic achievements to date, not least because of the incredible volume of work that we had to get through but I knew that I was nearly there. Only two more years as an articled clerk to go.
It was 1989 when I rode in the lift up to the second floor of Sovereign House in my new electric blue suit with a fellow clerk callled Adrian who remains to this day a true and valued friend. It was the start of my career in the legal world.