Martin first joined Hegarty Solicitors in 1979 when there were just 7 people working for the firm. Starting at our old office on Lincoln Road, he was the company’s first articled clerk, now known as a trainee solicitor, and worked with Richard Hegarty. He qualified as a Solicitor in 1981 and became a partner of the firm in January of 1983.
He first worked on criminal and family law matters before specialising in employment law in the 80’s. He said, “Even back at university when employment law was known as labour law, I’ve always found that area particularly interesting and enjoyable. It can be difficult and intellectually stimulating, I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of solving difficult problems.”
Other notable achievements include being appointed an Employment Judge in 1995. Martin commented that he believes to have issued over a thousand judgements over the years. He also wrote and published his own book entitled ‘Bullying and Stress in the Workplace – an Employer’s and Employee’s Guide’ in 2005, which covered area of the law from discrimination to equal opportunities.
Furthermore, Martin has been a key speaker at various talks and seminars, with a highlight being those with Anne Corder Recruitment which he has been speaking at for more than 25 years. He recalls, “When the seminars first began there were around 20 people in attendance. When the last in-person talk happened before Covid, we had over 200 people come to the event.” Following Covid, Martin has been speaking at online Lunch and Learn sessions with Anne Corder Recruitment and has over 80 attendees every time.
He has also delivered employment law training to many businesses including HMRC, British Sugar, and Thomas Cook. We asked Martin what his highlight had been working as part of the Hegarty Solicitors team, and he gave us his top three.
When asked about his retirement, Martin said, “Initially I’m going to have a rest! Then I plan to do some charity work, I’m going to volunteer to help children at my village primary school do some reading. I’m also going to volunteer at sports lessons at Stamford School. I plan to do some work on my garden and go on long walks with my dog Dougal.”
Katie Bowen Nicholas graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in law and recently joined Hegarty Solicitors, replacing Martin as the firm’s employment solicitor. She deals with all aspects of employment law including settlement agreements, employment contracts, consultancy agreements, unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.
We asked Katie what her favourite thing about employment law was and she said, “I like the variety of matters that I get to deal with and the challenges that each one presents. I like problems that I have to solve.”
Katie plans to continue the Lunch and Learn webinars with Anne Corder Recruitment and is excited to start those in June. She will also be continuing the Hegarty Solicitors E-ssentials newsletter that has been running for over 25 years.
Katie commented, “I am most looking forward to applying my passion for employment law to continue to develop and grow the department.”
Kally Singh, who succeeds Martin as senior partner of the firm, commented, “Martin has worked so hard over the years to make this firm successful and we all wish him an enjoyable and relaxing retirement.”
Martin will be missed by clients and colleagues alike, but our employment law team will continue to provide excellent legal advice to both employees and employers.