My Suffolk -
Alan Brown is the Deputy CEO and partner Ashton KCJ – one of the largest firms of solicitors in Suffolk
He heads up a specialist team of 150 people in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Felixstowe, which includes 58 lawyers and 20 partners who cover every aspect of legal work. Alan, who specialises in private client tax work, took up his new role at the start of October and after 25 years practice in the county says he feels privileged to have been offered the opportunity to lead the firm. Currently Ashton Graham, whose head office is at magnificent dockside premises at Ipswich Waterfront, is in merger talks with Kester Cunningham John, which would make the firm one of the biggest law firms in East Anglia. We asked Alan about his life and why he loves Suffolk.
How did you come to live in Suffolk?
I was born and grew up in London and went to the UEA in Norwich and just fell in love with East Anglia. I joined Bankes Ashton, as it was then, in 1988 and have been with the firm ever since.
Has the work of a solicitor changed since you qualified?
Yes, but there are going to be even more changes in the future thanks to technology. There’s also going to be even further competition for legal services from other institutions and online which means we have to maintain our high quality of service to our clients. I think over the years the relationship between a client and solicitor has changed – once lawyers were revered but now we aim to work in partnership with our clients so we fully meet their needs.
West Suffolk or East Suffolk?
I live near Bury St Edmunds with my wife and eight-year-old son and I spend some time working in our Bury St Edmunds office and the rest of the time in Ipswich. Both sides of the county are beautiful but they are very different. I particularly like the area to the east side of Ipswich and the coast but south of Bury has some lovely countryside too.
Adnams or Greene King?
I live in Bury St Edmunds and I would be shot if I said Adnams. I like them both; they are two great Suffolk beers. I like them both but it’s got to be Greene King.
Have you got a favourite place to eat out?
For eating out in the Bury St Edmunds area I have to say Ravenwood Hall or The Angel and on a more informal basis The White Horse at Whepstead. On this side of the county it’s the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill.
How do you relax?
Walking and photography. I have other interests like bird watching but with family life and work I don’t have time to pursue them at the moment. I like to walk locally but really love Scotland and North Yorkshire.
What’s your ideal Christmas?
We like to spend Christmas Day just to ourselves. We are normally up in the wee small hours with our son – last year it was 2am! Then if we are lucky we go back to sleep. The rest of the day is usually very traditional – turkey and a log fire and if we have time we get out for a walk for some fresh air. At some time over the break we will go to London to see my brothers and family, but we are always glad to get back to Suffolk.
Where do you like to go on holiday?
My ideal holiday is two weeks walking in the Alps – we do like to go somewhere where we won’t meet anyone we know and my wife likes me to go somewhere where I can’t use my blackberry. This year we went to the North Yorkshire Moors.