Wake Smith chairman to become High Sheriff of South Yorkshire

Highly regarded corporate lawyer John Baddeley has stepped down from his role as chairman at Wake Smith Solicitors to become High Sheriff of South Yorkshire.

John, who has been at Sheffield-based Wake Smith for 37 years, will take up the ceremonial role from April 8 this year, meaning he will retire and not work for the firm for 12 months while he undertakes his duties.

As John prepares for his new position, head of property Neil Salter became the new Wake Smith chairman from January 1 having worked his way up to Equity Partner/Director/Shareholder over his 26 years at the firm.

Commercial property director Paul Gibbon also joins the firm’s management board while director Rebecca Robinson is promoted to head of the corporate team from April 1.

John Baddeley said: “It is a great honour to be appointed the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire.

“My decision to leave Wake Smith has been incredibly difficult. However I am handing over the role of Chairman to Neil Salter and I wish him all the best in the position.”

Legal property expert Neil Salter, was an architect of, and one of the original members of Wake Smith’s Management Board, which he re-joined in January 2020, and is an active driver of the success of Wake Smith.

He said: “John being chosen as High Sheriff is a remarkable recognition of his profile in the city and, to an extent, that of Wake Smith.”

“Sadly for us, John will be stepping down from the firm whilst he undertakes his duties, as he will be spending substantial amounts of time with the judiciary, and the justice system of the County.”

“John has been integral to the development of the spirit and culture of Wake Smith and its continued success, and I would not be surprised if, after his time as High Sheriff, his involvement with the firm may re-commence in some way, shape or form.

“We wish him a fond farewell for now, with a huge sense of pride and admiration on his appointment.”

Neil added: “We also welcome director Paul Gibbon to the management board, who as well as undertaking his commercial property work, will continue as head of marketing, leading Wake Smith’s involvement with the UK200 and the overseeing of legal accreditations Including Lexcel and CQS.

“We are also delighted Rebecca Robinson will become head of our highly regarded corporate team from April. Rebecca’s appointment is well deserved, and she has our full backing as we grow and invest in our corporate services.”

The role of High Sheriff dates back before the Norman Conquest. There is one in every county in England and Wales. It is a non-political Royal appointment originally responsible for the maintenance of law and order within the county, and the collection of taxes for return to the Crown.

The function has evolved and it is now largely a ceremonial role with responsibility for supporting the judiciary, crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and the voluntary sector.

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