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Solicitor retires

PUBLISHED: 14:38 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:30 07 July 2010

Oliver Franklhas pretty much tasted every part of the legal spectrum during his 35-year career as a market town solicitor and former deputy coroner.

From late nights in police cells with clients who had put away one over the eight, to representing wealthy landowners in a spot of bother to drawing up wills to returning verdicts in sensitive inquests, he has seen it all.

Oliver Franklhas pretty much tasted every part of the legal spectrum during his 35-year career as a market town solicitor and former deputy coroner.

From late nights in police cells with clients who had put away one over the eight, to representing wealthy landowners in a spot of bother to drawing up wills to returning verdicts in sensitive inquests, he has seen it all.

And as Mr Frankl finally cleared his desk at Dereham law firm Hood, Vores and Allwood, he readily admitted to being one of the last of a dying breed.

"I am the last of the generation of people having the chance to do every kind of legal work. Everyone now is much more specialised," said Mr Frankl.

There has been a long-held myth that Norfolk is a quiet backwater, where very little happens.

Mr Frankl chuckles with irony at the thought of that as he recalled cases and inquests he dealt with over the years.

"It has been a real eye opener and you end up working for anybody and everybody from someone on income support without two pennies to rub together to a wealthy landowner who has got into trouble of some sort.

"It has been very interesting and no two days have been the same," said Mr Frankl, who joined the firm in 1972 - the same year as he qualified and got married to Muriel.

Born in Cambridge, Mr Frankl, now 61, went to Oxford University and law school in London.

He enjoyed childhood holidays on the Norfolk Broads but admitted he had not heard of Dereham when he first saw the advert for a job with HVA.

When he started Leslie Allwood was senior partner and other partners were Ken Allwood, Christopher Starling, David O'Neill and Adam Pyke.

"Neither Muriel nor I had worked in a small town or lived in a village, but working in Dereham and living in Shipdham was great. I have been extremely lucky and I have enjoyed working for the firm and with the people."

He describes as "a great shame" the centralisation of magistrates courts and legal aid franchising and also the reduction in number of coroners across the country - all of which have made justice "more remote."

Mr Frankl was senior partner at the firm for eight years and was deputy coroner from the mid 1980s until the role of Dereham coroner ended.

About 160 people - including past and present colleagues and clients - attended a farewell function.

He said: "I knew it was the right time to go, although there will be things I will miss and people I will miss."

Mr Frankl, who has children Phillipa, 30, and Alex, 27, has a range of aims for his retirement including learning the piano and more time for reading and travelling.

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