A solicitor who once pounded Carlisle’s streets as a young policeman has returned to the city to help set up a new family law service.
Jeff Smith was a bobby on the beat in Carlisle for two years in the late 1970s and is now helping leading city solicitors Wragg Mark-Bell move into family law to complement its criminal work and other services.
Jeff, 61, has fond memories of his time in Carlisle during 1978/9 including wading through 18 inches of snow during a harsh winter and a bizarre incident in which he was assaulted with a beef burger in Court Square.
“I enjoyed my time in Carlisle, but it wasn’t the job for me,” he said, adding: “The city wasn’t anywhere near as attractive as it is now.
“I’m loving being back in the city. I find the people to be friendly and welcoming – they’re gentler over here than in the northeast.”
Wragg Mark-Bell is already the largest criminal law firm in the area and is now using Jeff’s expertise to offer help in family law matters.
Jeff also has considerable experience with criminal law having represented clients in magistrates, the high court and court of appeal and says whichever branch of law he is dealing with he is always ‘driven by a concern for people who are having problems’.
“A major issue over last the few years has been the restriction of the availability of legal aid for family cases which has hit people who are at a real crisis point in their lives. The impact is felt not only by the client, but also their children their former partners,” he added.
When he is not at court or relaxing at home with his wife and family Jeff has a passion for cycling. He is planning to pedal to Paris this month in time to see the end of the Tour de France.
As part of its move into family law provision Wragg Mark-Bell has joined Resolution, an organisation which promotes a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters and campaigns for improvements to the family justice system.
Nick Kennon, operations director of Wragg Mark-Bell, said: “We’re really pleased to welcome Jeff to our team. He’s obviously got a huge wealth of experience and cares deeply for the people he represents. With Jeff on board the firm can significantly broaden the legal services we deliver as part of our legal support to the Carlisle community.”