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INSIGHT: Andrew Murray looks back over the years

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Imagine the days pre email, when a fax machine was a new-fangled machine to be debated over……………….with over 30 years of experience in the law and having seen many changes in his time Andrew Murray joined our Litigation team earlier this year, here he casts an eye back on a career he loves and looks forward to the future:

I have been involved in the legal profession for over 30 years and still believe that the profession enjoys a good reputation with the public.  Case management companies have come (and may now be going) but the High Street solicitor will remain, although perhaps not in the same number as 30 years ago.

There are of course challenges in every walk of life, but it seems to me that there are more challenges in the law than previously in its history but Pearson Solicitors are geared up and ready to face the future and it’s interesting to be part of it.

I did my Articles of Clerkship, now called a Training Contract, in 1981 at Molesworths in Rochdale, before moving onto Ashton firm Bromley, Hyde & Robinson. As an Assistant Solicitor, I worked in litigation, concentrating on criminal, matrimonial, personal injury and general civil and other types of litigation and became a Partner in 1988.

I have concentrated on litigation during my career.  Predominantly, I did criminal, matrimonial and personal injury work, with other civil work such as boundary disputes and contract disputes.  I was an agent Prosecutor for DWP. In addition to the above areas of law, I also practiced employment law but mainly acting for Respondents who had received an ET1 from a Claimant.  I thought that there was a possibility of a growth area in order to assist employers and “head off” claims or at least be in a position to better defend them.  I had in mind asking local businesses if they had written contracts of employment for their employees as many didn’t at that time.  I also tried to encourage businesses to contact me by telephone to seek advice before they took a decision.  More often than not, they would ring up and say that they had dismissed someone and had they done the right thing!  It was far better if they took advice before they took the decision and I would say that is the case now more than ever.

In October 1999, I was appointed as a Chairman, now referred to as a Judge, in the First Tier Social Security Entitlement Tribunal dealing with appeals from decisions of decision makers in the Department of Work & Pensions.  I then coupled my work as a Tribunal Judge with my work as a solicitor. 

I moved onto Harold Stock & Co in Mossley effectively carrying out the same type of work.

Since I qualified in 1984, incredibly more than 30 years ago, I have seen enormous changes in private practice. I recall at one partners’ meeting where we discussed the purchase of a fax machine!  Not only is it hard to envisage working without a fax machine, it is impossible now to work without all the IT resources that we employ and without which none of us could do our job. 

I remember that if we had to notify a client quickly that a case had been taken out of the list, that I would personally deliver the letter to the client’s house when I finished work so they knew the hearing had been cancelled.  Email has put an end to all of that! 

Fridays are now definitely part of the working week, and particularly busy here at Pearson’s in the property department with completions.  When I started my career we had time to enjoy an extended lunch now and again and on Fridays went to have a game of squash. My wife used to refer to Fridays as “play days” - that is a thing of the past.

I think that there is a greater formality now within proceedings.  One only has to look at the Employment Tribunal to see it has become very much more formalised and with the introduction of fees is more akin to the formality of the County Court or even the High Court in respect of some aspects of its work and to that extent, there have been huge changes.

Presently, I am enjoying my time at Pearson Solicitors and bringing the benefit of 30+ years of experience.  I think that the law is a wonderful profession to go into but I have to say that there have never been as many question marks about the future of the law (legal aid, high street practices, PI insurance, threats from “Tesco law”, the internet and its consequences) - as well as the undoubted harm done to the profession by the arrival of case management companies with all the negative publicity that has attached to some of the cases and the way in which they have been dealt. 

It’s been an interesting and enjoyable 30 years, I have worked with some wonderful people and am enjoying being the ‘new boy’ once again.

To contact Andrew please email


Also in this issue of Insight

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Andrew Murray


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