After 40 years, working in the heart of Nailsea, Wards Solicitors’ Clive Westlake is retiring and saying goodbye to the town he has seen grow and develop into the thriving community it is today.
Clive, who opened his first practice in Nailsea in 1979, moved to the town from Cornwall when he was seven. He went first to the local junior school and then on to Nailsea Grammar School which has since become Nailsea School.
“My friends joke that in 40 years I’ve only moved 500 yards down the road,” he says. “But in that time, I’ve met so many people and really got to know local families advising first the parents, then their children and now their grandchildren.
“I like that position in the community. As a lawyer, you are often doing similar things in your role as a solicitor but the people are always different and that is what makes it such an interesting job.
“Clients have become friends. A lot of people pop by the office and say “I must see Clive”. I hope I have been able to give them general help and guidance. I shall really miss that personal contact.”
Clive always wanted to be a lawyer and after graduating with a law degree from Cardiff University returned to do his articles in Nailsea in 1976. After that practice closed, he thought briefly about working in London before deciding to set up his own practice.
Since those early days he has seen many changes – most notably in technology but also the increase in the number of women working as solicitors – they now outnumber the men!
During his career Clive has seen Nailsea develop from a small village with a few new housing estates and not much soul to the thriving town and community it is today.
Leaving clients in “excellent hands”
Clive’s practice, Westlakes Solicitors, merged with Wards Solicitors’ Nailsea office in May 2011.
“I was happy to do so because I knew that Wards Solicitors’ shared the same belief in the importance of local values and offering clients a rounded service,” he adds. “I’m confident I’m leaving my clients in excellent hands.”
Clive will retire at the end of September and looks forward to spending more time travelling, golfing and cycling.
David Sheridan, Wards Solicitors’ Managing Partner, says: “It has been a genuine pleasure to work with Clive and to have him on board as we have developed Wards Solicitors to be the largest practice in Nailsea. Clive is always cheerful and helpful and his knowledge of the town has been crucial to the team’s success. We will all miss him and wish Clive all the very best for the future.”