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Family solicitor retires after 40 years

Don Bird, former senior partner and head of family law at Atherton Godfrey retires today, after 40 years of supporting local families dealing with divorce or separation.

Don joined the firm as an assistant solicitor in 1980 initially dealing with mainly matrimonial, criminal and property matters. As the firm grew, Don became managing partner in 1999, and also took on responsibility for developing the family law department, becoming head of the department in 2002.  As managing partner Don was responsible for overseeing the implementation of new and more effective systems and procedures in the firm, as well as the day-to-day management of the firm.

He later took on the role of senior partner when the firm’s founding partner, Charles Godfrey, retired in 2014.

Don, who was a member of Resolution and qualified as a mediator, commented: “My aim has always been to help clients to deal with issues in a non-confrontational way whenever possible, whilst ensuring that the outcome was for them fair and equitable.

“It’s a sensitive time and I am glad to have been able to help clients to resolve disputes and move on with their lives in a productive way.”

Don’s professionalism and support has always been appreciated by his clients, who have regularly commented on the level of fairness and integrity he showed when handling their cases.

Others have commented on Don’s ability to make them feel at ease, even whilst going through “the darkest and most difficult times” and dealing with court appearances.

John McQuater, the firm’s head of litigation, commented: “Most of the partners and quite a few of our staff have worked with Don for many years and we will  miss him.

“Don has been a great asset to the firm and  instrumental in developing the highly regarded family law department. His expertise in handling disputes between couples and in preparing and presenting financial and property information in court has earned him an enviable reputation with his clients. He has also had a huge role in managing and leading the firm.”

Don moved to the role of consultant when Atherton Godfrey merged with Yorkshire law firm, Switalskis Solicitors in 2020.

Outside work, Don has been actively involved in charity work with the Rotary Club of Doncaster St Georges for 12 years and is also a long-serving trustee on the board of the William Appleby Memorial Trust. He plans to continue this work and also looks forward to having more time to spend with his family and to enjoy his hobbies of gardening, cycling and swimming .