Retiring Wigan lawyer given huge send-off after 40 years

Mike Devlin (in tuxedo) at his Stephensons send-off
Mike Devlin (in tuxedo) at his Stephensons send-off

One of the North West’s leading family lawyers has retired following more than 40 years of service - and been given a unique send-off.

Mike Devlin, a partner and former head of the family department at Wigan-based Stephensons Solicitors has spent the past four decades representing parents, children, local authorities and other parties in complex legal cases.

Having qualified as a solicitor in 1981 at Goldberg Blackburn, initially specialising in criminal law, by 1984 Mr Devlin was a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel and became partner at Flint and Holmes Solicitors which merged with Stephensons in 1998. Mr Devlin was Head of the Family Department at Stephensons for more than 20 years.

He was also honoured by being appointed President of the Manchester Law Society from 2018 to 2019.

Consistently referenced in the prestigious Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 directories, Mr Devlin garnered a reputation for justice and representing those most in need.

In honour of his long career, a retirement celebration was held at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre presided by His Honour Judge Allweis, a first for anyone other than members of the judiciary.

Ann Harrison, chairwoman at Stephensons, said: “Mike has achieved so much during his career.

“His long held passion for the law surrounding children and the care of young people drove him to build the best family and childcare team in the North West of England.

“That passion and commitment now runs deep throughout the team and is a wonderful legacy that will continue to thrive long into the future.”

The Stephensons’ family department is now headed by partner Victoria Gethin and totals 46, making it the largest family department in the North West with a wealth of experienced and accredited solicitors. The family team has six Resolution specialists and six Children Panel specialists.

Ms Gethin and Jackie Price, senior associate, are two of very few family lawyers in the country who hold dual accreditation.

The firm, which has a major base at Wigan Investment Centre, has recently made a series of appointments in the family team which represent a continued determination to maintain the highest standards which saw the department awarded National Family Law Department of the Year in recent years in both the Jordan’s Family Law Awards and the Solicitors Journal Awards.