Derry solicitor, Brian Quinn, is going it alone after 20 years.
Brian has over two decades of experience but in the last few weeks he has set-up his own law firm on Queen Street.
“I was born in what was then the West Bank Nursing Home at Northland Road, Derry in June 1962.
“I am from a family of six children, five boys and one girl. My father Sean was a Chemist whose shop was in the Bogside for many years, firstly at Lecky Road and finally at Joseph’s Place until he retired in 1986.
“My mother had worked as a telephonist in the Post Office until she married my father at St Patrick’s Church, Pennyburn in 1955 and then became a full time housewife. I was brought up in the Waterside and still live there.
“Like my father before me, myself and my four brothers all went to Waterside Boys’ Primary School in Chapel Road. It was an excellent school which I really liked.
“The teachers were real characters. Jean McCourt from Ardmore was my first teacher. After that I was at St Columb’s College at Bishop Street and later Buncrana Road from 1973 until 1980.”
Brian recalled happy memories at St. Columb’s College studying Latin under the supervision of Fr. Michael McGlinchey.
“That was another wonderful school. Imagine starting Latin at the age of 11 (in my case I studied it until I was 18 in a class of four boys with the late Father Michael McGlinchey).
“My parents were superb. They didn’t insist that their children go down any particular career path. They just let us follow our own interests. I suppose we were all naturally interested in learning anyway.
“For a while I was interested in science, maybe because of my father’s shop. I had a chemistry set and a microscope. I also went through a phase of making Airfix model planes and painting by numbers!
“My earliest childhood memory was probably sleighing down Daphne Gardens where we lived off Limavady Road in a home-made sleigh.”
Brian said his mother was one of the biggest influences on his life and explained how she helped to shape his life.
“I suppose at home my mother was the biggest influence. She was interested in so many things, music, reading, travel, art, crosswords. Her interests quickly became my interests.
“Especially music and art. She was also deeply religious. At school my biggest influences were the late J.J. Keaveney from Moville who taught me ‘A’ level English and James Bell who taught me ‘A’ level Spanish. They were both superb teachers and gave me a great love of literature.”
On leaving St. Columb’s College Brian went first to the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland for four years where he took a degree in French and Spanish.
“It was a beautiful place in which to study, full of character. For the summer term in my third year I went on a Scholarship to Salamanca University in Spain. I loved both places. When I graduated from St. Andrew’s in 1984 I decided to study Law. I didn’t want to teach and I thought law would probably provide me with a good career. I went to Queen’s University and after that to the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in Belfast, qualifying as a Solicitor in 1988.”
When Brian graduated from law school he got a job working for local solicitor’s firm where he would remain until he decided to set-up his own practice in 2015.
“I was very lucky to be able to work in only one firm for more than 20 years, R. B. Campbell & Co in Castle Street. It later merged with a Belfast firm, Vincent Fitzpatrick to become Campbell Fitzpatrick and it has now become BLM (Berrymans Lace Mawer) Solicitors. My main areas of speciality were Personal Injury claims, Family Law including separation and divorce and Wills and Estates administration.
“We did a lot of work for insurance companies as well as for Housing Associations. I qualified as a member of the Law Society Children’s Order panel in 2005 and as a result could then act on behalf of children in cases where they were being taken into care and in cases where the Health Trusts were seeking to ‘free’ children for adoption. But I also acted in criminal cases and have advised in many areas of law over the years.”
Brian added: “The decision to set up my own legal practice was a gradual one. I wanted to be able to offer a one-to-one personalised service where my clients could deal with me from the beginning of the case to the end.”
Brian would like to one day expand his new law firm and despite the risk of going it alone he is extremely optimistic about what the future will hold.
“Naturally, I would like to expand and take on additional staff as the work gradually increases. It’s early days but I am really positive about the future and the challenges ahead. I am just as enthusiastic now as I was when I first qualified. I’m older now than then - but wiser too!”
For more information on Brian Quinn Solicitors telephone 028 71 414100 or email Brian on email@example.com