It only seems right to incorporate in to the fundraising event a bit of history about the original people behind the firm. As the challenge starts from Armstrong, this blog focuses on the man behind the A in AWB Charlesworth Solicitors – the legend that is Roger Armstrong.
Roger started out as a specialist social worker working with hearing impaired people in Leeds, and then became a more generalised social worker and manager. Whilst Roger enjoyed the challenge of the job and especially liked being able to really make a difference in peoples lives (a grounding that was to make him a first class solicitor) Roger felt it was time for a change. Roger was always passionate about the law and his family circumstances enabled him to study whilst working full time. Roger started his training contract with Gordons Wright & Wright and was formally admitted to the roll of solicitors in 1994 specialising in his preferred area of law: Wills, Trusts, elderly client and probate.
In May 2003 Gordons (as it had become known) proposed to close the Keighley branch where Roger worked since qualifying. Roger joined forces with Martin Wood and Julie Bridgman and they decided to set up on their own as Armstrong Wood and Bridgman. Their reputation, expertise and the loyalty of their clients resulted in a success from the outset. All the staff at the then Keighley branch of Gordons had enough faith in Roger, Martin and Julie that they left with them and Roger credits them with the success of the firm – a number of the team still work at the firm today. Some years later Armstrong Wood and Bridgman merged with Charlesworth Wood and Brown and became the firm that it is today – AWB Charlesworth.
Roger retired in 2018 but has left a lasting legacy. The private client department now consists of four senior solicitors and a specialist accountant all of whom are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. There is also a newly qualified solicitor and two experienced fee earners. The department is assisted by a fantastic support team. The private client team at AWB Charlesworth is unique in that each of the senior solicitors has their own individual specialism which is not often found in High Street Firms – contentious probate, agriculture, business and cross border estates are all catered for. The department prides itself in being able to offer specialist advice (akin to that of a city firm) on a range of client problems whilst remaining true to its High Street nature offering friendly, affordable advice tailored to the client .
When Roger was asked what his favourite part of the job was, being a true solicitor he gave three answers; a) providing solutions to clients for what they thought were insurmountable problems, b) seeing staff develop and grow, often in ways they had not expected
and c) seeing a small start up from 2003 still here today having weathered the 2008 financial crash and, hopefully, Covid-19. Roger’s ethos and ambition are still reflected in the practice of the private client department today and hopefully will continue for many years to come.