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Richard Barge

RICHARD BARGE is head of family law at Shrewsbury-based law firm Aaron & Partners. He has been in his current job for just over 11 years, assisting separating couples to resolve financial claims by negotiation or litigation.

HAS THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS PRESENTED OPPORTUNITIES AS WELL AS CHALLENGES? The legal services market has generally been buoyant during Covid. Dramatic societal/economic changes require proper advice, and professional services firms are the trusted advisors to whom individuals and businesses turn.

WHAT DO THINK THE COVID-19 FALLOUT WILL MEAN FOR YOUR INDUSTRY IN THE MONTHS AND YEARS TO COME? Some immediate impact on the property sector (withdrawal of stamp duty exemptions) and the end of furlough should see employment and insolvency lawyers fully occupied. The real effect on the economy is yet to be felt and we are still in something of an artificial position.

ARE THERE ANY OF THE ENFORCED WORKING PRACTICES THROUGH COVID-19 WHICH YOU THINK WORK WELL, AND WILL BE RETAINED IN FUTURE? Remote court hearings are here to stay. I’ve not set foot in a court building since February 2020. They work well for most hearings, though crucially not all.

HAS THE UK’S DEPARTURE FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION IMPACTED YOUR BUSINESS, AND WORKING PATTERNS? No direct impact, but clients across all sectors are seeing trading conditions become more challenging. This will inevitably feed into the bottom line in the short term. Economic reality > political slogans.

HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? Determined, hard working and capable of occasional flashes of knowledge and inspiration. Keeping my clients’ best interests central to what I do.

WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Having one of my cases plastered all over the front page of The Sun.

ANY PARTICULARLY FUNNY STORIES DURING YOUR CAREER? Rummaging in the attic of hundreds of failed marriages has inevitably given rise to the odd funny tale. I think it’s called gallows humour.

PET HATES? Red trousers, fascists, and exclamation marks.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? There are only a few genuinely brilliant people in any given job, the rest are trying the best they can.

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Hitting different kinds of balls and, as a lockdown bonus, learning the guitar.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? There is a genuine sense of collaboration and mutuality rather than ‘red in tooth and claw’ business Darwinism.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW. I appeared in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Blink and you’ll miss me.

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE?  Book – ‘The Meaning of Sport’ by Simon Barnes; Film – ‘Withnail & I’; CD – ‘Pink Moon’ by Nick Drake

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Shankly, Harold Larwood and Tony Benn.

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM? Green coriander chicken from Kenya is a favourite of mine.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT 12 MONTHS HAS IN STORE FOR YOU, AND YOUR BUSINESS? The ‘return to normal’ will be anything but. Hybrid working is here to stay . . . I hope so as I’ve just converted my garage to a second home office.


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