Mark Fords Story – The Legal Eagle Has Landed!
In this article Mark Ford continues his story by covering his long 29 year career in the legal system and law courts of the United Kingdom and what led him to one day quit his legal career to become a home business owner.
Read Part 1 Here < > Read Part 3 Here
Day 2 of my life story continues with a look at the next three decades that I spent within the UK legal system and what I had to do to eventually become a fully qualified solicitor.
It all started at the end of my conventional education where I was convinced that the best way forward was to secure a job within the legal system and then over a number of years work my way up and pass all the qualifications that I needed to have a ‘secure job and life’.
This went against what my mother and father thought was best for me. They were convinced that I should go to University.
However, my mind was made up and by eventually going to various technical colleges, polytechnics and the Law Society law school I qualified as a UK lawyer in 1994.
Before this my first job was a fresh-faced lad in an administrative role within a fines and fees office at Birmingham Magistrates Courts. Generally, when you start a new career you start at the bottom, learn the trade and move up the corporate ladder, this is exactly what I did. Perhaps this has been the case for you as well?
I worked my way through a number of administrative and management roles within the Court offices and this gave me an excellent grounding to become a trainee legal advisor and eventually a senior legal advisor to the Magistrates.
I can honestly say that by the time 1984 came around and my ‘boss’ said to me “would you like to become a trainee legal advisor, go to Law School and move out of the offices into the Court Room?” I had done to death most of the jobs in the various offices of a Magistrates Court and had excellent knowledge of how most things worked. I mean I was not going to then say to my boss “No thank you, I am a fresh faced lad of 24 years of age and I’ll stay in the offices and limit my opportunities”. That would have just been crazy.
My mum and dad divorced and to a certain extent I was out in the world on my own so I took it with both hands and the legal studies continued.
On the way to this position, as I mentioned yesterday, my adventure started when I enrolled at the Matthew Boulton Technical College to attain my “A” Level in law but that was just the start. I attended many polytechnics including Bristol where I attained my Diploma in Magisterial Law in 1987 and then onto Manchester where I studied my Common Professional Examinations.
Mark Ford – Law Society Presentation 1994
Finally in 1994 I sat my Law Society Finals at the University of Wolverhampton. Well actually, I took my last Wills, Probate and Administration exam as a re-take at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK with planes flying overhead and bands practicing for their evening gigs. Who am I to complain? I knew that when I handed that exam paper in I had passed and I smiled at the lady taking the paper from me expelling a breath of air saying “That’s a big relief”.
You see along the way I lost my wife to a divorce and as someone who doesn’t quit I carried on and passed despite the stressful divorce proceedings while taking exams. In the end I became a fully qualified solicitor and I was allowed to fully practice my chosen profession.
A 17-year journey that started in 1977, as a 16 year old getting a job in a Magistrates Court, finally came to fruition at the age of 34 through my perseverance and hard work. I passed out as a UK lawyer.
Mark Ford – Law Society Finals
Passed out now there’s a story. You would think that after all those years I would deserve a drink or two, with real ale being my favourite tipple. Thing is my mate (he will remain nameless) was supposed to drive me to the Law Society offices in London and back. No such luck as I did the driving and he got blootered, along with my dad!
It was all good though… a lot of fun and as long as they enjoyed themselves that’s okay. They were happy!
And you can see in the picture to the right where I accepted my credentials at the Law Society Presentations.
I invite you to remember this always… life has two rules;
> Rule 1. Don’t Quit
> Rule 2. Remember Rule 1. It’s that simple!
Mark Ford’s Story – The 29 Year Legal Career
My legal career lasted for 29 years and during that time I had many different roles after starting as an administrative assistant. These roles included providing advice to the Magistrates on criminal law, family law and local authority law and in some cases sitting alone in making decisions over a child’s welfare in Family Proceedings Courts.
However, one of the favourite roles I had was within the licensing department where individuals would apply for an alcohol license for their premises. These could be public houses, restaurants, hotels, night clubs and even betting offices.
Selly Oak Ex Service Mens Club, Birmingham, UK where my Dad worked as the Steward
I think what helped me within this area of law was the experience that I had gained many years previously where I used to help my dad in the social and working men’s clubs. This was where I was first introduced by dad to the responsibilities of adulthood and business.
Through my teenage years I learnt a lot from my Dad about business management, accounts and also helped out at 18 years of age in the bar.
That is until one day I got taught a life lesson by Dad not to be late for work and in treating me like any other member of staff that was that!
Give us my job back Dad please!
He fired me. However, after pleading with him I eventually returned with my tail between my legs and got my job back.
After my dad left his job at the Longbridge car factory he then went into insurance sales but after that he had responsibilities managing local clubs and I would often assist him with the running of the establishments. So I knew the lay of the land when it came to that industry which little did I know then would help me later in life.
In my role as Licensing Clerk to the Licensing Authority I worked with the local authorities and licensing committees in administering the law for individuals to set up their establishments. This was a serious responsibility because at the end of the day individuals wanted to set up their businesses to earn their living, but they had to do it within the realms of the law so that all parties were safeguarded.
Other roles I had was within a team of legal advisors in the administration and provision of legal advice with family matters. Also, one I am very proud off was when I set up an asset recovery panel. Here I trained a panel of magistrates on the appropriate law and systems that I had created as well as working closely with many legal authorities in recovering assets from individuals who had involved themselves with criminal activity.
Mark Ford’s Story – The Legal Days Are Ending!
You could say that all good things come to a natural end. However, maybe not because you will have a great deal to say in making things change in your life and you have to be prepared to move out of your comfort zones and make the change.
You see, in my case the trouble was that many things happened that were simply out of my control and within my job governments at national and local levels started to move the goal posts. This made the job and my tasks more difficult to implement.
What resulted was that I found that over the course of time my role started to become more of an administrative role which in my opinion was wasting my legal talents and skills along with the time that I had put in through my education. I became less motivated and disillusioned with everything as I saw myself as more of a clerical officer than a qualified lawyer. It was something very traumatic which meant I would need to take stock of my life, more on this in a moment.
As you can see I had many successes within my legal career right from my legal education, implementation and training people in many aspects of law within the legal system of the United Kingdom. Saying that though there were some bitter sweet moments along the way.
Just before I embarked on my chosen career my parents unfortunately separated which is a lot for any child to deal with at any time but when you are 16 and looking forward to your chosen career path you must dip into your levels of resolve and resources on more than one occasion.
Mark Ford with his son Daniel Ford
As time went on I found my feet and started to get myself established and met a lovely lady who I would go onto marry in 1985. In 1988 our son Daniel was born. With that came the responsibilities of building a safe and sound home environment and studying hard to progress in my legal career.
You see, we had a little bundle of joy to raise but we loved it.
I am the sort of bloke that is not fazed by anything and I always embrace new challenges in life. Daniel was my flesh and blood and I would do anything for him so two became three and our family unit had grown.
Mark Ford’s Story – The Divorce!
Unfortunately, over the next few years the level of studying I had to do put a strain on my relationship with my wife and in 1993 we divorced which was another huge blow in my life. However, I didn’t let these tough times get the better of me and I overcame a very tough time in my life.
My philosophy in life is to never give up, always focus on your goals and do anything and everything you can to accomplish them. Things in life happen but never quit!
Mark Ford’s Story – Starting Over!
For 29 years I continued my legal career undertaking the roles that I have previously mentioned. It then got to around 2006 when I started to become disillusioned. My legal career was no longer challenging me and I had thoughts of starting my own home businesses to give me a totally different lifestyle. With that would come freedom!
The traumatic event I mentioned earlier was that I sadly lost my father to lung cancer, so I took a 4 month leave of absence to deal with our family loss and to re-focus on what I wanted to do with my future.
What happened was I took the decision to leave my career as a lawyer and start a property and investment business with a very close friend of mine.
I handed in my notice at work and started to make a plan of action for the new business venture.
September 29th, 2006 was my last day at work in the legal offices, so that is now getting on for 12 years after passing the Law Society finals.
I can honestly say I have no regrets in becoming a home business owner.
When I look back at that time I now realise that I was a victim of following the trend in which everyone was expected to live their lives.
Meaning to study hard, secure that well paid job and then fall into the 9 – 5 cycle of life. Struggle into work in the morning in the commute and then back home again in the evening. When home you have a bit of dinner, then go to bed and do the same thing the next day and the next.
That is why I took back control of my life through working for myself along with my business partner. Tomorrow, I am going to cover my life as a home business owner but there is a little twist to my story with my first business venture so make sure you come back to follow my story.
Mark Ford the legal eagle dusts down his feathers and enters home business entrepreneurship. See you tomorrow.
I wish you every success in running your home business from anywhere in the world and working your way to the top!
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