The legal landscape within which we operate is always changing, and the challenges that we face today, would not have been imagined a couple of decades ago. One lawyer who has experienced and embraced more changes than most is John Ainley, who celebrated 60 years in the legal arena earlier this month. John began his legal career as an office assistant at Norcross Lees & Riches in 1963, having fallen out with the Headmaster of his then School, who wouldn’t let John take an evening class in business studies at the same time as studying for his O Levels. John continued his studies every evening, getting first O and then A levels, studying in Manchester before later moving temporarily to London to study full time at the London Law School, a forerunner to the College (and now the University) of Law.

After a couple of years working with Brian Norcross he joined forces with Tom and then Jack Wellock on Clegg Street, and in 1976 he and Bryan North formed the practice that still operates under their names, North Ainley. John demonstrated an unwavering dedication to the law, quickly establishing a reputation as a strong and compassionate local solicitor. With first Bryan, and then with his partner for many years, Geoff Lamb, John built a successful practice offering a comprehensive range of legal services to the local community and beyond. John’s mantra has always been to be willing to go the extra mile for his clients.

Beyond his legal prowess, John has also made significant contributions to both the legal and local community. Through Round Table and the Rotary Organisation, John was able to provide practical help the town he loves. He has actively participated in the Oldham Law Association, being its President in 2011, and has been the Chair of the Manchester branch of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) as well as a trustee of Age UK Oldham, and he remains one of the founding Directors of Mahdlo.

For a number of years John was on the Board of Governors at Hulme Grammar School, and continues to speak at local Schools with aspiring lawyers, sharing his knowledge and experience of the profession that he loves as much now as he ever did, describing our profession as one where “you can make a real difference”. Now, with 5 granddaughters to keep him busy, as well as a continued interest in fishing and cycling, John shows little sign of stopping. His passion for our profession and the people of Oldham is as keen as ever. A career spanning 60 years is obviously testament to perseverance, but more than that, it shows a commitment to the values of integrity and justice, that must be at the heart of what we do.

To this day John continues to grace the legal profession with his presence and continues to serve clients at North Ainley.