Business Profile David Small
Not a run-of-the-mill lawyer
THE thoroughly approachable David Small confounds the stereotype of the solicitor.
A lifelong cricket enthusiast and former professional musician (he toured in the 1970s with the likes of Nils Lofgren, Joan Armatrading and Supertramp before finishing off his career with gigs at the Albert Hall and Ronnie Scott’s), Mr Small also has an established reputation in the field of legal dispute resolution, with a firm preference for conciliation and the application of mediation techniques rather than confrontation and expensive court action.
Still an active semi-professional jazz musician (keyboards, bass, vocals) who plays regularly at local venues in the Newbury area, David Small meets with Newbury Business Today in his offices in Crown Passage, just off Hungerford High Street and in the shadow of the Town Hall.
He said: “I genuinely enjoy helping people and sorting out problems and conflicts, especially disputes about land and property. It's much more practical and outward-going than most fields of law - you have to be prepared to get out there, to visit the site, take photographs, visit clients and witnesses in their homes and put your wellies on if necessary. For example I am working on a dispute about a right of way at the moment - there is no way I could resolve that by just sitting behind a desk and dictating letters.
“You also have to understand the human side, what matters to the clients in terms of their interests and what they want to achieve, and why it matters to them as much as it does. Very often hurt feelings and the fear of losing are at the root of it, leading to a kind of siege mentality on both sides. Once you understand issues such as these a dispute will always be a lot easier to sort out.”
David Small also runs his own property management company in Somerset, a family business which he inherited when his father died 10 years ago. “The company owns and manages flats, shops, offices and workshops with some 20 to 30 tenants,” he said. “Over the years this has given me a lot of first-hand experience which I have been able to put to good use as a solicitor, and I now have a number of good-quality private property-owning clients as a result.
“The other thing I really value is that now and again you can make a real difference to someone’s life, and when this does happen you never forget it. There is one local guy who nearly lost his council house; he loved the place and had lived there all his life, but his mother was the tenant and after she died the council took him to court and tried to evict him. We fought and won and he still lives there to this day. That was 20 years ago, but he has never forgotten and neither have I.”
A former partner at Charles Lucas & Marshall until his retirement from the firm last July, David Small also acts as a litigation consultant for the Merriman Partnership, a well-respected and long-established Marlborough firm of solicitors which shares his own values and approach to the law. He also cares about his community he lives in and plays an active part in it - for 17 of the last 20 years as a Hungerford town councillor and now as secretary of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Tel: (01488) 680701
Fax (01488) 681063
Mobile: 0771 3094759
Address: Crown Passage, 23 High Street, Hungerford RG17 0NF