In recognition of 50-years in the legal profession, Birmingham Law Society has presented Michael Orlik of regional law firm Lodders, with a special award.
Michael was admitted as a solicitor in October 1970, and has been a member of the Commercial Property team at Lodders since 2002.
Marking Michael’s fifty years in legal practice, the Birmingham Law Society has awarded him a commemorative plaque in recognition of his achievement. The Society planned to present the award at a special event, but this had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, and Lodders’ managing partner Paul Mourton presented Michael with the award on the Society’s behalf.
A specialist in local government, planning, highways, public and private rights of way, compulsory purchase, compensation law, common land and village greens, Michael is known as one of the country’s leading experts on highway law. His book, ‘An Introduction to Highway Law’, is now in its fourth edition.
He spent the first half of his career in local government working for four different councils, the last being the Surrey Heath Borough Council in Camberley, where he was Chief Executive and Town Clerk. In 1990, he entered private practice as a partner at Needham and James in Birmingham, which merged with Dibb Lupton Alsop in 1993. He joined Lodders in Stratford upon Avon in 2002.
An Oxford University graduate, Michael was instrumental in securing changes to the law on compensation for compulsory purchase in respect of advance payments to ensure that disposed landowners have the finances to reduce or pay off mortgage debt on the land, and avoid being out of pocket or bankrupted while lengthy negotiations and arguments drag on to finalise the amount of compensation payable.
Michael says that other top career highlights over the past 50 years, have been representing clients at public inquiries: “Whilst not always of legal significance, cases were of course always of great importance to the individuals involved. In two cases, I was successful in helping clients get public rights of way, which had been mistakenly and unjustly shown across their properties, removed. This is often an uphill battle and few attempts have been successful.
“Several years later, one of my compulsory purchase cases was one of the last to be heard by the House of Lords just before its jurisdiction was transferred to the Supreme Court.”
Michael was also in court for what he describes as “the very unfair trial of the Rolling Stones” in the West Sussex Quarter Sessions in 1967, while serving articles with Geoffrey Godber, the Clerk of the West Sussex County Council.: “As a young, idealistic trainee lawyer, I was appalled at the injustice,” he says.
He adds: “Whilst slightly mystified that it is now fifty years since I was admitted to the legal profession, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the whole of my career very much, both in the public and private sector.”
Presenting the award on behalf of Birmingham Law Society, Paul Mourton said: “Michael stands out as one of the UK’s leading authorities, and a nationally acclaimed expert, on UK Highway Law. He has played a key role in establishing Lodders as the experts in matters concerning Highways and Rights of Way amongst developers, landowners, and local authorities, providing them with specialist advice in this highly technical area of the law.
“We congratulate Michael on his fifty years in the legal profession, and thank him for his continuing contribution to the firm and support of the commercial property team.”
Becky Lynch, Head of Operations at Birmingham Law Society, adds: “Birmingham Law Society is very proud to present the award to Michael for recognition of fifty years in legal practice. We look forward to welcoming Michael to a presentation in the new year when the restrictions are lifted.”
Michael today works with Lodders as a Consultant. He lives in Edgbaston with his wife Susan.
Lodders is a premier law firm in Stratford upon Avon, Cheltenham, Birmingham and Henley in Arden. The firm has 26 partners and more than 150 fee earners and support staff across its office network. With its portfolio of sector and market specific top-ranking legal teams, the firm has recorded year-on-year growth in recent years. For more information: www.lodders.co.uk.