FOUR DECADES OF DODDS: HISTORIC LEICESTER LAW FIRM MARKS MILESTONE
It’s 1980, Peter Marron and Brian Dodds, having established reputations from previous partnerships (Brian in Crime and Peter in Planning Law), set up their firm Marron Dodds and begin the journey of what we now know today as the historic Leicester firm Dodds Solicitors LLP.
The team at Dodds Solicitors share with DLUXE the rich history from the last four decades, their legacy and what they’re looking forward to in the near future.
Starting out as Marron Dodds, the firm quickly established a national reputation for Planning Law and acted for several well-known building firms. A few years later, in 1986, the firm merged became Marron, Dodds & Waite in 1986 with Peter Marron, Brian Dodds and John Waite as Senior Partners and Steve Morris joined as a Partner. John Waite later went on to join Spearing Waite leaving Peter and Brian as a Commercial, Criminal and Family firm.
As the firm grew larger, around 1994, Brian Dodds and the criminal and family department moved to 24 Friar Lane while Peter Marron and his commercial team stayed at 31 Friar Lane. Subsequently, Peter and his team later moved to new offices, out of the city centre and closer to the motorway at the Meridian Business Park.
In 1999, Marron Dodds de-merged and Dodds became Dodds & Partners and moved to 32 Friar Lane where we have since remained. To celebrate the newly named Dodds & Partners the Dodds annual summer barbeque was born, which has been held every year since and remains a big night on the Dodds calendar for staff, partners and business contacts.
In 2011 to refresh the Dodds brand, ‘Solicitors’ was added to the firm’s title and became Dodds Solicitors LLP. Dodds Solicitors takes its name from one of its founding Partners, Brian Dodds, previously mentioned, who sadly passed away on 7th December 2005 after a brave and protracted fight against Motor Neurone Disease. On Brian’s death, Steve Morris became a Senior Partner.
Brian qualified as a Solicitor in 1974 after studying law at The University of Leicester. He is remembered amongst those who came into contact with him professionally as a fearless and persuasive advocate successfully fighting what others would see as lost causes. He specialised in representing children and young persons in Criminal and Care proceedings.
After his passing the Partners, Steve Morris (Crime), Manji Obhi (Care) and Ashwin Topiwala (Family) set up a memorial prize to honour Brian and recognise the contribution made by our late Senior Partner in the practise of criminal law to the best performing student in the crime exam at The University of Leicester where Brian himself studied. The Brian Dodds Memorial prize has now been sponsored since 2007 by the firm.
Dodds Solicitors has 52 employees across all departments who accumulatively have a whopping 536 years’ service! Dodds Solicitors have a saying that “we grow our own”, and this is why people stay out their careers with us. In a lot of cases we have taken on members of staff at either Legal Assistant or Paralegal level, guided them in the right direction to be offered a Training Contract, ultimately qualifying as Solicitors in their chosen field. We even have a history of a member of staff starting as a Legal Secretary and becoming a Partner! Of course this says a huge amount about the passion and determination of these members of staff, but also that through that qualification and ladder climbing process the Dodds family team gave all the encouragement and guidance possible for them to achieve their end goal.
Here at Dodds, we refer to our staff as the Dodds family and we call our management structure our family tree and treat each other like our extended family. This strength has been proven by the great communication we have kept going during lockdown and also the tremendous comments we received from our recent Lexcel Accreditation Audit stating we were “leaps and bounds above many other firms”. We gained our Lexcel Accreditation in 2018 which replaced the Solicitors Quality Mark required for Legal Aid to increase standards.
Also in 2018 we opened the doors to “The Mediation Centre” which offers mediation for a range of disagreements, including family and business mediation. If you want to know more about mediation and how it could work for you read Ashwin Topiwala and Sarah Spence’s article ‘Everything you need to know about mediation’.
We are a local firm, run by local people helping our community and this extends to the charities we work closely with. Over the years our list of chosen charities has grown and all of our charities are local to Leicestershire and connected with our line of work so that we can help to assist people beyond their legal issues. A list of the charities we support can be found on our website.
Before Covid hit, we were very excited to be attending the Leicestershire Law Society Annual Awards and Dinner as Steve Morris, Senior Partner, is shortlisted for ‘Solicitor of the Year’. Unfortunately due to the ongoing pandemic, it was postponed but is due to take place in September 2021 (fingers crossed!) With a career spanning over four decades we felt it would be a fitting tribute for Steve to be recognised for his years of commitment to Criminal Legal Aid work and his clients.