As Chris Lane reaches his last day at work before retiring, we find out more about his career and what advice he would share with future conveyancers. We wish him every happiness in his retirement.
What was your favourite subject at school?
My favourite subject at school was Geography.
How did you get into conveyancing?
I was working at the Council dealing with Council House Sales, completions on Mondays were anything between 50-75 during the busy time. A good friend of mine David Williams was working at a practice in St Albans at the time. He came over to do a couple of completions and we sat and chatted about the advantages and disadvantages of our respective jobs. His advantages outweighed mine. He knew of a Solicitor in St Albans looking for a Conveyancer. I went and met John Brian at Beal Son & Sherrard (Now Sherrards) a couple of times and he made me an offer which I accepted.
The rest is history! I started with him in the summer of 1984 he threw me in at the deep end as the day I started he was going on holiday for 3 weeks to USA and I was expected to look after his caseload along with his secretary Jackie.
Where did you work before Crane & Staples?
I was with them for 11 months before taking a position at Leonard Solley & Co in Harpenden (part of the Photiades group), where I stayed for 3 years before being enticed up the road to Taylor Walker (as it was before Taylor Walton) where I stayed for 10 years, before being asked by another Harpenden practice Paul Berg & Taylor to assist them in opening a new office in WGC. I worked long hours there for 4 years as I really wanted to make a success of being given that opportunity. We started with just two of us – myself and Julie my long-suffering secretary who I first met at Beal Son & Sherrard. We moved around together as a “package” and when we left I seem to recall there being at least 10 members of staff. I left there in 2002 to join C&S
What made you choose to work at Crane & Staples?
I didn’t choose. I had a chat with Michele Rowe (former partner) one day because she wanted me to join them. I met with her and Greg one evening. Deal done but because I had a restraint of trade clause I worked at the Hertford office for two years before that office was closed and we all moved under one roof at WGC.
What’s the best advice – career or otherwise – you’ve been given?
The day I left the Council a colleague at the time Keith Thompson (who went on to become Senior partner at Vanderpump & Sykes) said to me “deal with all post the day it comes in” which I have always tried to do. He also said “ you will realise that private practice is not a 9to5 job”. He was so right.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in conveyancing?
Advice, apart from don’t do it! Would be learn to communicate with clients and contacts as they are your source of work. There really is no excuse these days with all the appliances available these days……………an awful lot different to when I first started.
Networking is also a great source of work and you growing both personally and professionally as you are engaging with people from all walks of life. Personally I now have a great circle of friends (who started as contacts/clients)
What has been the highlight of your career?
My whole career has been a highlight!
Describe an ideal day in your retirement.
An ideal day………………..that chapter is about to start. It might include some walking, some golf, lunching without the need to dash back to the office, listening to music – I have a collection of CD’s that haven’t been heard for a while – and most importantly adjusting to life without the need of a suit and tie.