Solicitors Journal

Movin’ On Down

I’m pleased to report good news – of sorts – for me at least. Since my last missive and against the odds, a residence has been secured in the fine city of London. Not only a residence, but one which has space to swing at least one goldfish (Rufus) and store sufficient Henderson’s Relish to ensure my northern roots are not quickly forgotten.

Within the next few weeks this Yorkshire lad will be a bona fide cock-a-nee, the likes of which have not been witnessed since Dick van Dyke took his one man band to Hyde Park Corner. Sadly, to pay for said residence, I may be forced, like him, to strap some cymbals to my inner thighs and pull out my old trombone. Actually, that sort of thing might be better suited to Soho.

Now that I have a date to move, an itinerary has been put in place to ensure the farewell tour is as extensive and effective as possible. Fearful of missing anyone out who will hold a grudge for the indefinite future, friends, former colleagues and family must each be paid their dues. Wherever possible I have combined such efforts, thus far with mixed success.

Fond farewell

The recent Yorkshire Law Banquet was hosted by Sheffield Law Society at the prestigious Cutlers’ Hall, which provided an elegant backdrop to a wonderful evening. (What are you Kev, 90? Ed.) With events like this, you never know who might show up among the 450 or so attendees. Familiar faces – some friendly, some less so – and a mass catered meal which can often be hit or miss. I am pleased to say that the meal was splendid and encapsulated much of what I will miss when I depart the ‘Steel City’.

Among many things, what Sheffield is good at is hospitality, creativity and graft. The free-flowing wine and warm welcome on a cold February night ensured the first of these. The venue itself is a testament to the centuries of proud labour and hard work that has seen the city establish itself as a manufacturing centre of international excellence.

The timetable for the evening was, I think, an example of creativity. Either that or very misguided good intentions. By the time the dancing started, the port had been sent up and down the table enough times to guarantee that walking to the dancefloor would be a challenge only to be attempted by the most agile and dexterous. That and the lack of circulation to my legs given the length of the preceding speeches. I did, however, manage to catch up with many colleagues, friends and acquaintances who kindly wished me well and expressing concern about moving south as if I were going to war.

It’s time to look to the future though. As I spend time packing my life into boxes and filling bags reserved for the charity shops, I think about what the next few months might bring. Top of my ‘to do’ list is find an exciting career opportunity that will continue to expand my brain, my experience (and ideally my bank account).

Coming together

In the meantime I am keeping busy with several ongoing projects including the launch of the Gay Employment Lawyers network (GEL) later this month. I believe networks of like-minded individuals, whether their interests be professional, social or political, are essential at the moment with so many distractions in our daily lives. The opportunity to come together and discuss legislative develop-ments, unusual or interesting cases and generally create a framework of community and support can make us better lawyers.

I don’t think those involved expect to be inundated with Daily Mail readers, but we hope to have the support of firms and organisations that recognise the importance of shared knowledge and support. If you’d like more details check the twitter feed at

By the time this column comes around next month I will most likely still be surrounded by a mountain of storage boxes but in a very different place. That is if I can remember which box I packed my laptop into! Already the visitors book will be filling up, and I am sure we have more than a comfortable flat full already booked in for the royal wedding. I have a feeling that London won’t allow me to get lonely and I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life and career. Until next time…

This article was first published by Solicitors Journal on 14 February 2011, and is reproduced by kind permission

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