Reflections on 1990

Partner Tony Illsley has now reached 30 years as a qualified solicitor.

This period has been achieved working at Rutherfords LLP.

Now the head of the private client department, Tony originally started as a litigation defence lawyer for national insurance companies and the Medical Defence Union. Quite a variety then, but with any business the key is flexibility, and adapting to challenges and opportunities. However, a brief period of reflection is probably deserved.

Tony said “…I can clearly remember in 1990 being first admitted to the roll of solicitors and receiving my admission certificate hand signed by Lord Donaldson. When you first qualify you start on straightforward files and do everything including photocopying and driving the senior partner to court. Not all glamorous work but part of learning your trade…”.

“… You never forget your first day in court before the judge. No textbook can properly prepare you for that…”.

One of the greatest areas of change has been to technology. Although computers were well established in the office in 1990, this was a time when staff actually worked in the office (not at home), hand washing was optional and Zoom conferencing had yet to be invented. Today we could not exist without laptops, high speed broadband and case management systems.

The Microsoft Windows 3.0 operating system had been introduced with CD-ROM the norm for data. Apple struggled with the Macintosh computer (and nearly went bankrupt in 1996). The first mass produced mobile phone from Nokia would not appear for another 2 years.

In 1990, the first web browser appeared following the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee a year earlier. What an incredible invention that turned out to be.

The mobile phone has become an essential business tool. Accessing emails, your calendar, digital dictation and apps, in fact everything apart from actually making phone calls.

Tony said “…When I qualified the iPhone did not exist and would not be invented for a further 17 years, the iPad a further 20 years. I don`t know how many of my staff would cope without a smart phone now…”.

Other memorable events from 1990 include the demolition of the Berlin Wall, the Poll Tax was introduced (who remembers that?) and Margaret Thatcher resigned. Pop star Cher was in the charts, and still is, although strangely she looks much younger now than she did then!

Now sporting a `lockdown beard` which he has assured his wife is temporary, Tony is very much looking forward to the future with Rutherfords LLP and the continued success of the firm.

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