When I entered the profession in February 1974, there were no computers on desks. High Court and Court of Appeal Judges wafted through New Square, Lincoln’s Inn acknowledging new Articled Clerks and there was an air of quiet politeness and grace.
Much has changed over the years.
The digital age enables us to communicate quickly and to access expertise easily and these are great advantages.
My hope is that some of the finer points of life of being a lawyer are not lost in the modern way of living. With this in mind, I offer the following reflections before I retire after almost 50 years in a professional life which included meeting most of The Royal Family and notable celebrities when raising funds for the disadvantaged, not to mention well known sporting personalities and musical artists in the normal course of being a private client lawyer.
- Couch all of your communications with kindness. It will maximise the chance of a positive response and protect you from regret.
- Before contacting a client, walk in their shoes for five minutes and then explain things in terms they can understand. This will build an unshakeable following.
- When faced with an issue which upsets you, visualise your mind being in two compartments, one being all emotion, the other being cool, clear reasoning. As you are reflecting, be honest with yourself and acknowledge from which side you are reacting. Whilst emotion drives the mind, the solution should come from the clear logical side. When you have reached that stage, you can then phrase responses and advice.
- Care about what you do. Clients and your colleagues alike will feel it and respect you for it. More importantly, you will walk with self-respect.
- Never write in anger; sleep on it; you will feel differently in the morning.
- Foster openness by readily admitting uncertainties and discussing matters with your colleagues. No query or worry is too simple or silly to discuss.
- Remember how you can change lives and heal difficulties whilst being an agent of justice and compassion. The law is still a noble profession.
- Remember that your working life creates an inter-tapestry which will provide you with peace in later life and a wealth of resource to share with others.
As Gary’s retirement date is fast-approaching, all of his colleagues wish him a relaxing and well-deserved retirement. Nicola Weldon, Head of Private Client and Kiri Nichols, Team Leader of the Bury St Edmunds Private Client team both wish to express their gratitude and thanks to Gary for his commitment to his work and clients. He is a true gentleman whose kindness and gentle nature will be missed in the office.