David was articled at Haden and Stretton in Walsall prior to qualifying as a solicitor in July 1964. He swiftly became a partner in that firm and remained as such, working from its Walsall office, until December 1998 when he stepped down, moved to its Lichfield office and became a consultant. Through most of his years as a Partner he served as the firm’s Managing or Senior Partner and indeed started attending Partners’ meetings as an articled clerk for the purposes of taking the minutes.
In June 2004 David became a consultant to the newly formed firm of Ansons and continued in that role until his death, aged 80, on April 1 2022. He was never one of those consultants whose name simply appeared on the note paper, or rather on the website, but worked, despite illness in the last few months of his life, to the very end indeed giving advice to clients the evening before he died. He died as he wanted to – working.
David was typical of his generation of provincial solicitors in that in his early career he turned his hand to most things. He had endless tales of his experiences in Magistrates and County Courts and there is no doubt that advocacy was his first love. By the 1970s he began to specialise in property and corporate work while beginning, at the same time, to develop a practise in planning and environmental work. He gradually eased out of the property and corporate work to focus, when he became a consultant, on planning, environmental and other regulatory work. What he liked about that work was that it brought him back to his first love – advocacy.
David was interested in politics and in the 1960s was a member of the Bow Group. During this period he jointly wrote with Baron Clarke of Nottingham aka Ken Clarke a paper on negative income tax. When Mr Clarke, as he was then, became Chancellor, David wrote to him to enquire if he would be adopting their ideas – he didn’t!
But while David was interested in politics his passions were cricket and chess. He played cricket at school and for a rather unsuccessful office team and, of course, chess.
He started playing chess when he was five and continued to play at a local and national level throughout his life winning, amongst other things, the British Senior Chess Championship in 2003 (joint); 2005; 2007 (joint); 2009 (joint) and 2011. He was appointed non playing Captain of the English team in 1972 and held that role for almost twenty years travelling the world with the team. After stepping down as Captain he continued to help with the national and international administration of chess not least in providing legal advice when necessary (and it seemed to be often!). He was awarded the OBE in the 1977 New Years Honours list for services to Chess.
David brought to everything he did (whether work or leisure) determination – not determination to win at any cost (although he preferred to win!) but rather a determination to do the very best that he could whatever the circumstances for his clients, his colleagues or his chess teams. Preparation and planning were everything and, of course, anticipation of what your opponent might do. He thrived on hard work.
David also brought to everything he did a sense of honour and fairness. He believed in treating everyone equally and was quick to defend the underdog.
Those of us who worked with him will miss him enormously for his skill, for his knowledge, for his support, for his sense of fun and for his stories. But we will not miss him as much as his beloved wife Doreen and his family.