President's Letter (June 2014)    

So, my year as President has passed, I have given up the helm and a new man has taken up the reins. And judging by the speech he made on assuming the mantle, the Society is in safe hands with Tom Danter at the wheel.

(What are metaphors for if not for mixing?)

My final duty was to chair the Society’s AGM, which was held on 15 May at Entrecote, followed by the Council dinner. The AGM marked the retirement from Council of Emma Braithwaite and Cathryn Davies. Emma retired from the office of Treasurer and Chris Davison was elected in her place. Many thanks go to Emma for her contribution over the last couple of years, and to Chris for accepting the nomination. Cathryn has retired after many years’ service on Council and her valued contribution will be missed.

The AGM also noted the remarkable achievement of Wynford Charles, a former Council member and office holder, for having been on the Solicitors’ Roll for 50 years. The milestone was marked by the award of life membership of the Society.

And so we moved on to the formal business of my retirement and Tom’s appointment. At this point, I had to confess to the unforgiveable faux pas of having forgotten the ceremonial badge of office, without which the inauguration was incomplete. I am ashamed to admit that, not only did I not remember to take with me it in the morning, I did not think about it until I arrived at the AGM and saw the others proudly wearing theirs! My only excuse is that I had had a four day trial that finished that day so I was a little distracted. Fortunately, the day was saved by Helen whose mercy dash delivered the “gong” to enable me to complete the handover.

We then had a very good meal. Unfortunately, the quality of the food was not matched by the calibre of the jokes that followed it. Kevin Greer’s laudable attempt to raise the level of discourse by introducing logical problems foundered on the amount of alcohol that had by that time been consumed.

I much enjoyed the meal so booked to eat again at Entrecote to celebrate my son’s 14th birthday, and again had lovely food. It helps that, as I am a member of the Society, we got 25% off the food! The members’ benefits are now so extensive that it is worth having membership for them alone. (For further details see the “Members’ Benefits” page on the website). I take no credit for this as we have to thank the considerable efforts of, Michael Walters, Emma Waddingham and Clive Thomas for securing the substantial discounts. The number of eateries participating is still growing, which is good news when you have two strapping boys to feed. (Memo to firms who have yet to join – in addition to the usual reasons for joining, firm membership is an inexpensive way of providing worthwhile benefits to staff!).

The next Society event on 13 June is an evening at Chepstow races followed by music from Jools Holland, which Helen and I are looking forward to. The last occasion Helen went to the races, at Ludlow, she won the Tote and acquired a handbag with the winnings. Given my lack of success when gambling, Helen will be laying all our bets. Lightening does occasionally strike twice!

Though not in any official capacity, I attended an event held by the Law Society and JLD giving an insight into what some Cardiff firms look for in a trainee, and what alternative ways there are of pursuing a career in the law. Unsurprisingly, the qualities expected in a trainee were much the same irrespective of the firm, but I particularly liked Clive Thomas’ practical tips – such as remembering to change your email address if it isn’t likely to impress a prospective employer.

Well, that’s all from me. I enjoyed my year as President and look forward to working with Tom. 


Simon Cradick

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