Marathon runner was articled at 17
Criminal defence solicitor Jeffrey Gordon, thought to be England’s longest-serving legal aid lawyer, is to carry the Olympic torch through the streets of London at the end of next month.
Gordon, who works at EBR Attridge in Clapham Junction, regularly runs five miles before work and takes part in half marathons at the weekend. He is one of only 16 runners to have taken part in all 32 London marathons.
He said his precise route would not be revealed until two or three weeks before the event, but he would not have “any difficulty” in running the distance.
Gordon started work at Allen & Son in Soho at the age of 16 and the following year was articled for five years. He studied for a law degree part time at King’s College, London.
At the time, there was no legal aid for criminal defence work and he represented people under the Poor Prisoner Defence Acts. He also remembers helping in prosecutions for food rationing offences.
Gordon ran his own legal aid practice in south London for 37 years from 1962 to 1999. It became part of EBR Attridge in 1999.
He secured his place in legal history in 1970, by acting for Levine Mckenzie, a Westminster dustman, in a contested divorce.
McKenzie lost his legal aid funding after making a false statement about his domicile, which was not the UK but in the West Indies.
“As he was not represented, I sent along a young Australian lawyer, who was not qualified to represent him in court, to sit with him and advise him,” Gordon said.
“The judge took exception to his presence and ordered him to leave the court.”
McKenzie lost the divorce case and challenged the result in the Court of Appeal on the grounds that he was denied representation. The rest is history and the ‘McKenzie friend’ was born.
Gordon was awarded the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award for outstanding achievement in 2003.