Michael Devlin, criminal defence solicitor advocate at Switalskis answers The Yorkshire Time’s 10 burning questions in 10 minutes. This article was originally published by The Yorkshire Times.
What does a typical working day for you involve?
As a criminal defence solicitor advocate my working day can be incredibly varied. I usually start around 9am in the office and then I’m often diverted to clients who may be at a police station or magistrates or crown court. I have a very varied caseload! I also take turns with five other members of the Switalskis criminal law team to be on the duty rota at the police station. Anyone who is arrested and doesn’t have their own solicitor can request one from the rota, and everyone is entitled to free legal representation in the police station. It’s an interesting job, which is why I went into it, and I feel as though I’m doing something worthwhile.
What makes Switalskis special?
I like my team, there’s a good atmosphere – I definitely wouldn’t have stayed 22 years if I didn’t feel valued. Switalskis was my first employer in the legal profession and I’ve progressed from a trainee to head of the criminal law department. I’ve seen it grow from just two offices to now being one of the biggest solicitors in Yorkshire with offices throughout the county and one in London. The company’s priorities are in the right place.
Do you dress up or down for work?
Definitely dress up. I’d be sent out of court if I showed up without a tie. I own around 20 ties, but I only have two I like to wear regularly. Just like Einstein, I don’t like to waste brain power on choosing clothes (that’s probably the only time you’d say we’re alike).
What piece of advice would you give your 18-year old self ?
Other than ‘take up cosmetic dentistry’ (which would have required a lot of exam resits) I honestly can’t think of anything! At 18 my goal was to read English at Liverpool University, which I did and enjoyed. After that I chose to study law with a view to do criminal law because I thought it would be interesting, and I was right! I don’t think there’s anything I’d like to tell myself back then. I’ve always been happy to discover life as it comes.
What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?
York Racecourse. I lived close by the racecourse while studying law; one of my classrooms even looked out onto it. It’s always a nice day out, even if I’m not particularly lucky on the betting front.
How do you prefer to travel for business?
Normanton Police Station where I receive callouts is right next to the M62, so I always travel by car. All new police stations have been built next to motorways for ease of access but unfortunately, this means they’re generally not very well served by public transport.
What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?
I like to have a nice walk up Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales and finish with a picnic on the limestone pavement, which Harry Potter fans may recognise as one of the locations from the Deathly Hallows film.
What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you’re away?
More than anything, I miss home. I was born and bred in Keighley and apart from my university years in Liverpool I’ve never lived anywhere but Yorkshire. I currently live in Baildon and can leave my house and go for a walk on the Baildon Moors. I like the nice mix of the rural and the urban – the best bit about living in Yorkshire.
Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire and what dish do you recommend?
The Pheasant Inn in Harome is my favourite. The food is gorgeous and it always feels like a treat to visit. I’ve been lucky enough to go there quite a few times, often with a stay as well. I don’t have a favourite dish because I always get the taster menu with a little bit of everything and it’s all delicious.
Do you have any business rules that you swear by?
Don’t undervalue yourself. If you’re good at something then you need to acknowledge and appreciate that.