On “Black Friday”, 13th May, 2016, the Townsville legal firm Bolton Cleary & Kern announced that it is closing its doors after 80 years of continuous trading. I joined BCK in 2000 when our family moved to Townsville to be closer to my wife’s family. I spent 11 of the 14 years I was there, as a partner of the firm. I left in 2013 for a specialist role in a larger firm, before establishing Conrad Law in 2015.
In my early time at BCK Lawyers, I was fortunate to work with John Bolton for a couple of years, before his untimely passing. John was true gentleman – an old fashion professional who treated the practice of law as a public service. After taking over his wills and estates practice, John’s clients would frequently mention to me how good he was to them and what a gentleman he was.
At its hey day, BCK Law was a firm of 30 lawyers and about 55 support staff. The strength of the firm at the time was the extent to which partners and lawyers specialised. BCK frequently butted heads with Sydney and Brisbane firms and came out on top. We were frequently underestimated by capital city lawyers – to their clients’ disadvantage.
Economic times have been tough for most businesses in Townsville and North Queensland. Law firms are not immune. In these times, you can’t afford for anything to go wrong. The economic version of “survival of the fittest” can be harsh on those affected – particularly staff who have little or no control over their destiny and no work elsewhere to go to.
It was sad to see a long standing Townsville institution close its doors!