TRIBUTES have been paid to a Hartlepool solicitor who has been described as a ‘man of the people’.
Malcolm Smith who founded his family firm MSP Legal Services LLP in Victoria Road died on March 27 after suffering from an illness.
The 76–year–old, who turned to law later on in life was one of Teesside’s longest serving solicitors.
Son-in-law Andy Jones, who also works at the firm, said: “A man of the people, Malcolm was never averse to meeting with and encouraging individuals of all ages, at all levels and without discrimination. “He was a mentor to those who needed it, encouraging staff, family friends and clients alike, to progress and achieve their goals.”
Mr Smith was born on August 4, 1938 in Hartlepool to Sidney and Irene Smith, he had one sister Cynthia MacGregor who still lives in the town.
Following his father’s return from war, the family ran Smith’s Bakery on the Central Estate for many years.
Sporty Mr Smith played cricket and lawn tennis for the town, but his main passion was playing rugby union for his school, Durham County, North of England and in his teenage years he was invited for England trials.
Mr Smith, who was married to Marilyn, a retired consultant physiatrist, for 51 years was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors on June 1, 1973 and set up his own general practice with a principal office in Hartlepool and later an office in Peterlee, a position he enjoyed until retiring from full-time practice following ill health.
Even after his retirement, there was no rest for the grandfather-of-11 as he was accepted to study the theory of law at Oxford University - which he graduated from in 1993.
He was then accepted by Faculty of Law to read for a D.Phil at Merton College, but this was interrupted by his second heart attack.
In 2000, he embarked on full-time practice following his daughter Fiona’s qualification as a solicitor.
Father and daughter formed Malcolm Smith & Partners, which in 2007 became MSP Legal Services LLP after son-in-law Mr Jones joined the pair in 2004.
Mr Smith was also father to eldest daughter Sian, a GP, and Simon, who is also solicitor.
Mr Jones said: “MSP remains a small family firm, but the practice has always been keen to move forward.
“Although qualified since 1973, Malcolm embraced change and was so proud when the practice became the smallest in the North East to hold both Investors in People and Lexcel as recognised quality standard marks.
“Malcolm remained in practice until this last admission to hospital. He was part of the “old guard” and one of Teesside’s longest serving solicitors.”