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East Midlands Chamber News

Retiring solicitors qualified on the same day

David and William with their qualification certificates and, behind, Director Simon HaleTwo solicitors who qualified on the same day and decades later worked for the same legal firm are retiring within days of each other.

William Skinner and David Wells are currently both consultants for Ellis-Fermor & Negus, at Beeston, despite very different career paths over the past 40 years.

Both qualified on June 16, 1975 - that was the day when they received certificates signed by Lord Denning, then Master of the Rolls – one of the most ancient and highest judicial offices – at the Law Society's Hall, Chancery Lane, London.

David started his career in Newark and then worked in Uttoxeter and Cardiff before joining Ellis-Fermor & Negus in1979, working from the Beeston office ever since.

Initially he did property, wills and probate and occasionally appeared in magistrates courts.

For the past 15 years he has dealt with residential and commercial conveyancing and charity law.

During the miners dispute of 1984/5 he appeared at the High Court in London on a Saturday to represent the practice dealing with a branch of the National Union of Mineworkers.

“That remains firmly in my memory because it was so unusual,” said David. “I don't think the High Court has sat on a Saturday since.”

David, who lives in Wollaton, is an active member of Stapleford Baptist Church. He has served for many years as Director and Secretary of the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission and is Chairman of the Friends International Development Group, Nottingham.

William started with Sale and Son, Derby, until after the company merged with Edwards Geldard.

He then took up a position with Chambers and Hind, Stapleford, becoming a partner in 2005. The firm was acquired by Ellis-Fermor & Negus in 2012.

William said: “I have done about everything in my career – criminal cases, matrimonial and family, civil litigation including accident cases and latterly wills and probate.”

He is a member of St Helen's Church, Etwall, and of the Prayer Book Society and was Secretary of Longford Deanery Synod for 17 years. A lifelong Derby County supporter, he has been a season ticket holder for 35 years.

Both David and William will retire early in July.

Ellis-Fermor & Negus Director Simon Hale said: “It is with considerable sadness that we are saying goodbye to these long-time servants of the community and legal profession."