Stewart Matthews reminisces on his decade at Neves

It seems like only yesterday that I first joined Hopkins Reynolds (which later merged with Neves) as a trainee solicitor, but 12th July 2009 marked my 10 years of working at the firm.
When I first starting work at Hopkins Reynolds a new computer system had just been introduced and was being phased in, meaning that the old green screens were still on each secretary’s desk, but alongside the new fangled windows based PC’s. Hopkins Reynolds had been one of the first legal firms in Luton to install a fully networked computer system, but it is scary how quickly IT products become obsolete.
Over the last 10 years I have worked at both Luton offices in Cardiff Road and George Street West, and also at the then Hitchin office, our Harpenden Office and I am now based at our Milton Keynes office, although my role means that I travel between all three current offices on a regular basis.
During my training contract I covered most subjects, but upon qualifying as a solicitor in July 2001, I joined the litigation department, dealing predominantly with commercial disputes. I gradually climbed over the fence into non-contentious work now dealing with most aspects of business law, including commercial contracts, disposals and acquisitions of businesses and companies and also commercial property.
In addition to my fee earning role I am involved in the firm’s IT and I am the current editor of the firm’s newsletter and sit on the committee responsible for the Neves website. In April 2009 I was also promoted to the position of Senior Associate.
People obviously come and go, but there still remain a number of colleagues who were there on my first day and who hopefully will remain colleagues for many years to come.
It has been a very enjoyable 10 year period, during which I have seen a huge change in the way that law firms run and how we do business on a day to day basis. Even as short a period ago as 10 years, using emails to contact a client was a rarity, but now it is the norm, using the internet for all manner of research and information is a necessity but 10 years ago only certain staff members had access and trotting off to court with a 40 minute wait for a 10 minute hearing is now regularly replaced with telephone hearings conducted whilst sitting at your desk.
Whilst I have enjoyed the variation in work over the years, the real reason why you stay at a firm for any length of period is the people that you work with, so a very big thank you to all my colleagues at Neves past and present that I have worked with over the last 10 years.