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The longest-serving partner at Dibb Lupton Alsop is to retire after 37 years at the firm, in a bid to become the UK’s answer to John Grisham.When John Winkworth-Smith joined Sheffield firm Broomhead Weightman & Reed in 1962, the firm had just one partner – Henry Reed – one assistant solicitor and two articled clerks. It now has more than 200 partners and is one of the UK’s top 10 firms.Winkworth-Smith became a partner in 1972 and was appointed head of litigation from 1977 to 1986 and a board member from 1986 to 1990 following the merger of Broomheads and Dibb Lupton.Originally based in Sheffield – one of his trainees was Dibbs’ current managing partner Nigel Knowles – he also acted as regional managing partner for Birmingham for two years from 1992. Following that he became regional managing partner for the firm’s Leeds office.On his future career as a novelist, Winkworth-Smith said: “The novels I plan to write will be fairly technical and will be about legal situations generally.” He added that becoming a novelist would fulfil “a lifetime ambition” and that his experience as a litigator – he is a prominent supporter of alternative dispute resolution – would help him in his new career.Winkworth-Smith said that during his legal career he had been “largely involved in cases where people ran off with industrial secrets” and he would lean on this for inspiration, although he added that it would be “heavily fictionalised”.

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