Posts Tagged ‘ solicitor ’


NONE SO TOUGH AS A BROUGH

Written by admin
April 2nd, 2019

Little could give us greater pleasure that to welcome Helen Brough as a brand new solicitor with The Johnson Partnership.  This much anticipated qualification comes about eighteen years after we welcomed Helen as a brand new clerk.

Having gained considerable skills for many years, Helen decided that the time was right to push things to the next level.  Equipped with a history degree, Helen had to undertake courses part time whilst continuing to shoulder a particularly heavy caseload.

There is no saying when any individual will feel that their time has come to blossom.  For Helen that time is now and we are all delighted to be around to see it. 

The experience, skill and understanding that Helen has gathered over the last couple of decades mean that she will be one of the best placed and best qualified new solicitors ever to work for The Johnson Partnership. 

Helen, we are honoured to have you.

CLOSENESS IS TOO COSY FOR COMFORT

Written by admin
March 15th, 2019

The arrival of a new super custody suite for South Humberside throws up all the usual questions for the Defence solicitors in the area. Traditionally, Defence solicitors in South Humberside are based either in Scunthorpe or Grimsby. Strictly speaking, the new custody suite is not in the centre of either of these two population centres.

Obviously, there is the possibility for new offices to be opened close to the new custody suite, but as ever, this begs the question of whether an office close to a police station really does bring the expected return.

How many people leave the police station and decide the first place that they want to go rather than home, the pub, their drug dealer or McDonald’s is actually their solicitor. How many people arrive at the police station under their own steam only to think at the last minute “Oh that’s what I forgot! A solicitor!” Those arriving in custody having been transported by the police tend to arrive at the rear of police stations and do not pass the open arms of the Defence solicitors whose offices have been invitingly opened nearby. Even those who are driven to the front of the station are unlikely to take in the subtleties of the names of particular firms.

Inevitably then, it seems likely that The Johnson Partnership will not be opening a new office near to South Humberside’s new custody centre.

In recent times, a small rank of well-established Defence firms have opened in the proximity of Derby’s St Mary’s Wharf custody suite. One of our competitors, when relocating within Chesterfield city centre, decided that an office, cheek by jowel with the town’s police station, was a good investment. Within our area, only the wise folk of Sheffield seem to have decided that relocating to the unlovely, unprepossessing, inconvenient and unwelcoming area of the new Shepcote Lane custody suite would be a poor idea.

Discussions with clients show that they tend to be suspicious of many Defence solicitors who are seen as part of the establishment. The Duty Solicitor Scheme has, from time to time, fallen into disrepute, because clients have believed that duty solicitors were “police solicitors”. To do anything to bolster this idea of cosiness seems to be, if not commercial suicide, certainly a serious commercial illness which might result in some haemorrhaging of clients.

Whether it be Nottingham, Derby, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Grimsby or Lincoln, The Johnson Partnership are pleased to assert our independence, whether it be from police officers, prisons, the Youth Offending Team, the probation service, Judges, prosecutors, or whosoever else may be part of our system.

ALL ALONE IN THE END ZONE

Written by admin
March 12th, 2019

Do you remember when the probation service would prepare a court report and would provide tribunal with all they needed to know about a client’s history and social position as well as their suitability for particular sorts of sentences? The report would review not only their present circumstances, but also their previous involvement with the probation service and some of the biographical experiences which had brought the clients to their present position.

Under the Offender Rehabilitation Act it is becoming increasingly the case that the probation service will look at a client’s suitability for particular disposals, but they only deal with the aspects of their current circumstances that make one or other disposal more suitable.

This means of course that it is down to the Defence advocate to fill in the back story and help the court put a client in their true social context. It is all very well saying that someone is addicted to Class A drugs, but explaining to the court how that happened and how they have managed to achieve abstinence from time to time might help a court with clues about motivation and susceptibility.

A client with no role models or supportive family members will obviously have very different needs in terms of possible support mechanisms from someone who has struck out on their own account, but having failed, has a safe harbour to which to return.

How distressing is it then to see Defence advocates mitigate without providing any of this social and historical material? Those Defence advocates who look little beyond the guidelines and barely even seem to take on board the content of the pre-sentence report are doing nothing more than selling their clients down the river and demonstrating their own lack of commitment and hard work.

Undoubtedly, there are advocates who have an eye on one thing, and that is the early submission of a bill. The advocate winds up at the end of the case and the client, and to some extent the court, may feel that there is a lot of ground still to cover.

This problem is particularly apparent where clients are being sentenced by way of the video link system. A recent Nottingham case saw a sentence of five years plus imposed on a client who had spent fifteen minutes with his advocate who mitigated for about 3 ½ minutes.

It is vital that you choose the sort of representation that will provide the court with a short movie of your life rather than just some blurred snapshots. If your solicitor isn’t asking you about things that you think are important and things that you think they should know, it is either time to sit down and make them listen or alternatively make sure that you and the people that you care about choose a different representative.

NOTHING MEEK ABOUT THE NEW FORCE IN CHESTERFIELD

Written by Sian Hall
February 1st, 2018

On 15th January 2018, after almost ten years with the firm, Karl Meakin stepped out on his own account in the Magistrates’ Court.  An experienced prison lawyer, Karl is now strengthening the team of Chesterfield advocates comprised of Bob Sowter, Kirsty Sargent, and the inestimable John Wilford.

Karl will also be continuing to carrying on preparation and advocacy work for the Prison Law Team throughout the country.

The Chesterfield advocates are ably backed up by Richard Pell, Lucy Hooper, Yasmin James-Birch, and Lynda Gilbert.

With John’s added qualities as a regulatory specialist, the team has not only depth but considerable breadth.

Bob Sowter brings with him not only massive expertise in terms of adult and youth crime, but also a history of work carried out on behalf of the road haulage sector, which has ably equipped him to deal with a broader than average range of road traffic and vehicle related issues.

The remarkable Kirsty Sargent is the beating heart of the team, an excellent advocate and a superb organiser and administrator.

Karl could hardly be joining a finer group of lawyers who should ease him to greatness at an early stage.

THE LAWFULNESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER

Written by Sian Hall
November 7th, 2017

The recent success of our Derby office’s Mark Luckett in completing the Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 13 minutes has caused us to reflect on the ever present link between law and long distance running.

 

There is no doubting that the stamina and endurance called for in seeing a difficult case to its end is matched by the competitive persistence required of a successful distantness athlete.

 

For many, however, the long hours spent in training provide the perfect antidote to a hard day in the office. Over the years a number of our solicitors and Partners have either relaxed, or taken time to get their thoughts in order when pounding the streets of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and South Yorkshire.

 

As well as Mark, perhaps our best and most noteworthy performer was our sadly missed Partner David Graham, who could knock out half marathons in substantially less than an hour and a half. Jo Chadd is a successful conqueror of the London Marathon.  Emma Coverley regularly disappears to both road and fell running events throughout the North and Midlands.  In a slight bizarre but truly historical event Sean O’Brien, Dan Church, and Richard Davies then of our Doncaster office completed the Sheffield half marathon of 2014 which had officially been called off due to a lack of water; all survived and have their medals to prove it!

 

One of our hardest working runners in every sense must be the Mansfield office’s Chris Perry, who has completed more distance events than anyone else in the firm on courses far and near. Based on the edge of the Peak District, Chris is well placed to clock up some good looking miles whilst leaving Mansfield Magistrates’ Court at the back of the pack.

 

Good luck to all, including Sean O’Brien in this year’s Snowdonia Marathon and Emma Coverley and Digby Johnson in the 13 mile festive Turkey Trot around the Vale of Belvoir.

 

GOLD FOR GOULD

Written by Sian Hall
October 26th, 2017

Ellie Gould, who has been with the firm for the last five years, has swept through her duty solicitor qualifications without a backwards glance. Having qualified in July of this year, after substantial Magistrates’ Court experience, Ellie completed all the stages of duty solicitor qualification in a matter of weeks.  Her 25 case portfolio, following by a rigorous face-to-face examination involving obtaining instructions, preparing and making a plea in mitigation as well as an application for bail, posed no problem for a women who has literally spent thousands of hours assisting in the Magistrates’ Court.

 

We look forward to Ellie finding her own niche among our diverse and well-experienced Nottingham Magistrates’ Court team.

A NEW TRAINEE ON THE ROLL ON ROLL OFF JP CONVEYOR

Written by Editor
October 31st, 2015

We are delighted to announce that Sarah Roberts has recently commenced her training contract with The Johnson Partnership, a month before Leyona Powell completes her own traineeship and qualifies as a solicitor.

Leyona’s experience has encompassed a broad range of topics, although of late she has been involved in high profile complicated fraud work.

Sarah has had considerable Magistrates’ Court experience, in that she has been the personnel assistant to Chris Saunders, one of the founding Partners, who is still a leading advocate in the East Midlands Magistrates’ Courts.

Sarah is used to long hours, overnight and weekend police station shifts and has shown herself to have the best possible attitude to all things Johnsons.

A well-organised administrator and an accomplished advisor, Sarah is everything that we could have looked for in a trainee, but inevitably we have not had to look far. We wish her all the best and look forward to the day when she pushes Mr Saunders to the back of queue whilst she gets on with her own contested bail applications.

Live Chat