Norfolk solicitor changes job - to clean ovens

Chris HillA high-flying Norfolk solicitor has packed away his pinstriped suit after a 30-year legal career - to take up cleaning ovens for a living instead.Chris Hill

A high-flying Norfolk solicitor has packed away his pinstriped suit after a 30-year legal career - to take up cleaning ovens for a living instead.

Peter Webb made the seemingly-bizarre job swap after leaving behind his successful law firm to launch a franchise with an oven-cleaning specialist.

The 55-year-old said he has been happy to exchange stressful conveyancing, will-writing, probate and commercial work for the simple pleasure of rejuvenating a grimy grill-pan.

Nor will he miss the long commute to his practice in Sawston in Cambridgeshire from his home in Briston, near Melton Constable, where he has lived with his wife Nicky since 2005.

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But Mr Webb said the decision was confirmed after his sons Stuart, 25, and Andrew, 24, left home to go to university.

'It is not as barmy as it sounds,' he said. 'One of the problems with the law is that it is a very stressful way of earning a living.

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'I was doing well enough to put both my sons through university, but, with them off my hands, I didn't need the income I was enjoying as a lawyer, so I started looking around for something else.

'I am one of those sad individuals who just doesn't like mess. I like things to be clean and I get a certain satisfaction out of getting there, finding a disgusting oven and making it better.

'And there's something very attractive about being a man with a van, and not having to worry about staff.'

Typical of his former profession, Mr Webb said he used 'due diligence' in researching his career options.

'Lawyers never rush into anything,' he said.

'I came up with the idea of cleaning ovens because I knew a guy who was an accountant who was doing it and I thought: why not a solicitor?

'During my training I went into a student let and the oven there had to be seen to be believed. It was not the most pleasant job, but at the end it looked 500pc better. It gave me a lot of satisfaction.'

Mr Webb previously employed 10 people in his law firm, but said the profession had changed 'beyond recognition' during his 30 years.

'I was a typical small-town solicitor, but towards the end I was not enjoying it as much as I used to. The sort of general lawyer I was didn't fit in any more with the way law was practised, with people becoming more and more specialised.'

Since launching his franchise last week, Mr Webb has already secured some appreciative new clients. His territory spans north Norfolk from Hunstanton to Mundesley, and inland as far as the outskirts of Norwich.

Mr Webb can be contacted via Ovenu on 0800 140 9800.

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