Back in the day when legal aid paid quickly, a female estate agent helped Marilyn Stowe get her firm off the ground

In 1982, we borrowed £27,000 to buy and convert a disused cobbler’s shop in East Leeds and turned it into my new office.

I was the only woman customer on the bank manager’s books. Without fail, he would call in to see me every Friday, checking on new clients, work in progress, bills sent and money outstanding. I always kept myself up- beat for his visits although I resented them. He didn’t visit my husband’s office with such regularity.

“What work can you do?” he asked. “Anything,” I replied through gritted teeth. In the days when specialism was rare, it was feasible. But where were the clients to come from? Solicitors weren’t allowed to advertise.

My husband w...

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