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A fond farewell to two York Solicitors after 70 years in law

View profile for Duncan Morter
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Richard Watson and Chris Myles, Directors at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors with offices in York, Pickering, Malton and Selby, who have served thousands of clients in York and North Yorkshire, both retired on 31 October 2023 who, collectively, have spent 70 years with the practice.

Over his 30 years’ experience practising solely as a family law specialist, Chris has prided himself on heading up and managing one of the strongest family law teams across the region, always ensuring the best and most up to date advice is provided to clients, providing a constructive approach to family issues and minimising conflict wherever possible.

He has seen family law develop and change over the years and is one of the most respected family law practitioners in York. Family law issues affect the very heart and soul of people and that means there is an added dimension in what family lawyers do. One of the largest changes Chris has seen is the growth of mediation and he found his mediation work very rewarding.

Chris has been instrumental in making sure the firm shows its support of the Armed Forces Covenant and over many years has had significant experience of representing Serving Personnel and their families.

Chris has been one of York’s leading family law solicitors and the profession is losing someone special. He leaves this legacy and the management of the family law team in the capable hands of fellow family law Directors, Mark Robinson and Greg Cross.

Richard’s association with Crombie Wilkinson dates back to the late 1970’s, having studied law as an undergraduate, where he was a Power Contract Prize winner, Richard returned to York in March 1987 when he qualified as a Solicitor and became Senior Director in 2019, fulfilling many roles in the firm. During his career, he worked on a variety of legal matters for clients but specialised in charity law, charitable trusts and private client issues.

As well as his role at Crombie Wilkinson, Richard sits as an Assistant Coroner and has spent 21 years as a principal local authority councillor on the Ryedale District and City of York Councils. He chaired the Main Planning Committee at York for 8 years and some of the major applications he oversaw include Campus East at the University of York, West Offices and the Grand Hotel.

He served as Sheriff of York in 2010–2011 and was appointed an Honorary Alderman by City of York Council in 2011 and is a trustee of York Archaeological and a member of the York Design Awards. During 2018/19, he was the President of the Yorkshire Law Society.

Managing Director, Duncan Morter said “Richard has been with the firm for 40 years, and over that time has been instrumental in taking Crombie Wilkinson from a relatively small local law firm to one of the largest firms in North Yorkshire.  Chris joined the firm 30 years ago, and has also been a major part of the management team which has grown the firm over those years. Having colleagues as wise and experienced as Richard and Chris to work alongside has meant an awful lot to me, and I am sure many others too, as we have followed our own career paths with Crombie Wilkinson.

Over the many years that both Richard and Chris have worked for the firm there have been changes in personnel, the areas of law in which we specialise and developments in technology, but the theme which runs through all of this is that both Chris and Richard have always worked extremely hard to give a great service to their clients. They have combined being proactive and personable with a high level of technical knowledge and experience. Those are great qualities in any lawyer. We will miss their support, their wise words and their companionship, so on behalf of everyone at Crombie Wilkinson, I wish them both all the very best for a happy and healthy retirement.

The firm employs nearly 100 legal advisors and support staff across its four offices across North Yorkshire in York, Selby, Pickering and Malton.