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Solicitors Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award announced

World's longest-running journal honours longest-serving contributor, clinical negligence solicitor Richard Barr

25 May 2016

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Richard Barr, the longest-serving contributor to Solicitors Journal, is to be honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural Solicitors Journal Awards: Recognising brilliance in a changing legal world, taking place in London tonight.

Barr has become a staple of SJ through his monthly column on the trials and tribulations of legal practice for the last 25 years.

Speaking to SJ's John van der Luit-Drummond ahead of the awards ceremony, Barr said that through his writing he wanted to replicate, for the legal profession, what James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small did for veterinarians.

Barr began writing for SJ on a regular basis during the tenure of former editor Marie Staunton in 1991, and subsequent editors have continued to publish his musings and observations on the law and legal practice ever since.

Reflecting on the changes to the profession since he first set pen to page, Bar observed: 'High-street lawyers are now poorer, more stressed, and far less happy than a quarter of a century ago.

'There were problems then and my articles reflected that, but recent and sustained government attacks on the activities of small firms - making access to justice more difficult, closing courts, hiking court fees, savaging criminal legal aid - along with hugely increased regulation, have all made for an unhappy mix.'

On his long-term commitment to SJ, Barr explained: 'It was always regarded as the antidote to the Law Society and in the early days gave a lot of support to the British Legal Association, which was set up to challenge the society.

'At the time it was regarded as the source of information for practitioners and we had weekly meetings to consider updates in the law - using SJ as the source.

'The early issues gave the appearance of being rather staid, with worthy but dull articles. Over time, and particularly after Marie took over, it began to brighten up and has continued to do so ever since. It is well respected and deserves to be in every office.'

Read the full feature on Barr's time at SJ here.

Tonight's awards ceremony will also see the announcement of the winners for:

  • Employment Team of the Year
  • Commercial Team of the Year
  • Litigation Team of the Year
  • Family Team of the Year
  • Legal Aid Team of the Year
  • Personal Injury Team of the Year
  • Private Client Team of the Year
  • Property Team of the Year
  • Pro Bono Team of the Year
  • Regional Team of the Year
  • Rising Star
  • Legal Education Provider of the Year
  • Legal Personality of the Year

Follow @SJ_awards for the live results and read further coverage online tomorrow.

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