Morse code sparked 35-year career in Wells

  Posted: 30.04.21 at 09:15 by Philip Welch

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Reasons why young people select a job offer vary. It may be the money or prospects of promotion.

Bruce Scobie chose a Wells firm of solicitors because he was impressed by the interviewer’s inventive way of communicating with his secretary by tapping in the wall between his office and hers in Morse Code.

That was in the mid-1980s and the firm was called Chubb Beresford and Wyatt which has expanded dramatically into today’s Chubb Bulleid from which Bruce will retire today – three days before his 60th birthday.

After an idyllic childhood on the beaches and moors of West Cornwall, Bruce studied law at Kings College, University of London, then trained as a solicitor with Farrer & Co in the capital.

“For the last 35 years or so, I have seen our firm opening offices and adding staff,” said Bruce. “I reckon we had about eight people when I started and we are on about 70 now and growing.

“I hope I have added just a little to our ethos, which is to try to provide the highest quality of service and yet not take ourselves too seriously. There is nothing worse than an arrogant lawyer.”

Bruce and Heather love travelling. Here they are on holiday in Patagonia with a glacier in the background

Having chosen Wells for his first job Bruce settled in quickly, became a partner then director and leader of the firm’s residential department.

“There are far too many good memories to recount in full,” recalled Bruce. “But I remember having to sprint down the High Street several times having been so engrossed in a telephone call or a meeting that I had forgotten to pick up the children from school.

“Then there was a time when I arrived in the office before my partner in the firm, Paul Medlicott, had left from the previous day – he a late worker, me an early bird.”

Bruce would regularly start work in the office at 5am or earlier and said: “You might think land transactions may be a little dull, but far from it. I have conveyed castles and lakes and beaches (and a few thousand houses) and acted for a wonderfully diverse set of clients from all walks of life.

“We are a very happy crowd of people at Chubb Bulleid and I have been blessed with fantastic workmates. In particular, Richard Cussell’s fine business brain and Matt Chalfont-Griffin’s phenomenal work rate are a wonder to behold.

Ruth Jackson is one of the recent additions to Chubb Bulleid's expanding staff. She is their first in-house barrister

“There are so many people I could mention – Caroline Jones, for example, who is one of the best property lawyers I have ever come across. I have also had a series of brilliant secretaries over the years to keep me organised, including Marie, Zoe, Tori and Amelia, and then Tori again for a couple of weeks before I leave.

“And then the twist at the end of my story at Chubbs, namely that my wife, Heather, is taking my role as the head of the residential conveyancing department. Heather arrived here as a secretary over 30 years ago became a licensed conveyancer 21 years ago, qualifying with some of the top marks in the country and has been for some years now a tremendously effective lawyer.

“In what is like an episode of Tales of the Unexpected, Heather will sit in my chair, in my room, take my job and have my secretary. She will work with a stellar cast around her of eight or nine lawyers and roughly the same number of support staff providing, I am sure, the best possible service.

Heather said: “I am very excited to become the team leader of the residential department of Chubb Bulleid.

"I started here in summer 1990 as a secretary aged 19, and three decades later here I am at 7 Market Place in Wells, a few yards from where I started all those years ago about to embark on my new role.

“I count myself very lucky to be with such a great firm and to work in such a lovely place as Wells.”

Richard Cussell, a director of the firm, said: “And so after 31 years in business together I must say goodbye to Bruce.

"It has been a fantastic journey with my friend. His hard work and client care ethos runs through Chubb Bullied like a motto in a stick of rock.

“It will be tough not seeing him to open the post together each morning, exchanging ideas and resolving problems. I will even have to open the office but not at 5am or earlier as has been his habit.

“So long my friend until I can see you in pub to reminisce over a whisky.”

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