Kevin's Word Is Law to the Country's Solicitors; for Most People It Would Be a Bad Thing to Be "Sent to Coventry", Especially after Spending the Previous Year in the Post of President of the Law Society in London. for Kevin Martin, His Year in Charge of the National Body for Solicitors Is Almost at an End, and He's Delighted, Once Again, to Be Coventry-Bound
Byline: By Melissa Davis Special Correspondent
On July 7 2005 bombs exploded across London, killing 52 people and injuring hundreds more. One of Kevin Martin's first projects as president of the Law Society of England and Wales was to launch the legal helpline offering free legal services to the victims and families of those who died in the bombings.
"The response from solicitors was amazing," said Kevin, as he praises their commitment at such a difficult time.
It was a very unexpected beginning to his year in office which would see him involved in leading some important campaigns.
Kevin has challenged the Government's stance on legal aid and lobbied the Government to overhaul the stamp duty land tax system. Recent proposals to change the taxation of trusts were met with concern from the Law Society and Kevin was instrumental in leading a media campaign to urge the Government to listen to the Society's concerns.
"The Government has moved a long way from its original proposals and that is very good news," he said.
As president of the Law Society Kevin chairs the council, and acts in an ambassadorial role, representing the society at home and abroad.
He has travelled to a dozen different countries to promote solicitors and create new business opportunities overseas for UK law firms.
He has also attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace and last month he was at the Queen's 80th birthday celebration at Mansion House. Since the Queen's birthday party he's been acclaimed as an authority on egg custards!
Apparently he was asked at the celebration what he thought about the food and he replied that: "The egg custard was the lightest and fluffiest I've ever tasted."
Little did he realise that his comments would be splashed across the media the next day and were even broadcast on the Today Programme on Radio 4.
This month he will return to his birthplace of Coventry, an area to which he still has a considerable attachment. "I've always felt that it was an honour for the legal profession in the area for a Coventrian to be their president for one year," he said.
While he is been busy lobbying the Government to improve the state of the court system and take on board the society's concerns on HIPs, his golf swing has taken a back seat. He intends to rectify that by spending plenty of time at Ladbrook Park Golf Club in Tanworth-in-Arden.
Quick to point out that family always comes first, his main priority is to take some time off with wife, Maureen, sons James and Richard and his three-year-old grand-daughter, before he steps out on the golf course.
He is also realistic when he says that it may be a while before he can bring his handicap down: "I certainly won't be giving Nick Faldo a run for his money."
Another of Kevin's projects will be to focus on the school he and Maureen own. They bought Davenport Lodge School, which houses 150 pre-school pupils, shortly after their sons left in 1986.
"It was on the market and Maureen wanted to go back to work and we were looking to move house," he says.
Maureen is currently the principal at the school and teaches the children an array of subjects.
They lived above the school for seven years before moving out to facilitate its extension.
"I'm very proud of the work that Maureen and I have put into the school and when I return in the summer I will have more time to contribute - golf permitting," he says with a smile. It's no wonder he is so dedicated to the Midlands.
Born in the Stoke Green area of Coventry he studied at the nearby Sacred Heart Primary School and Cotton College, North Staffordshire.
As the son of a chartered valuer and auctioneer Kevin always wanted to make his father proud and he soon developed a desire to be a lawyer. He took his articles in law at the age of 17 at Tafft and James, solicitors in Queen Victoria Road, Coventry - now Brindley, Twist, Tafft and James. …