It was the Summer of ’69 and a 16 year old Aileen Laing (now Taylor) was headed to 70 Queens Road for the first day, of her first job, at Messrs Christie Buthlay & Rutherford (now Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace). As an Office Junior, with a pay packet of £6 per week, Aileen had no idea that forty-five years on she would still be with the firm, holding the title of the longest standing member of staff.
Back then we had a workforce of 13 with 3 Partners. Aileen set out as an Office Junior and was soon appointed as Secretary for Mike Taylor who at that time was an Apprentice Solicitor. She carried out that role for 35 years following Mike as he climbed the legal ladder right up to his appointment of Managing Partner in 2000.
It was in 2004 that Raeburn Christie merged with Clark & Wallace and Aileen moved into the Corporate department as Secretary for David Landsman. She carried out this role for 4 years, after which point there was a re-shuffle which saw her final move into Commercial Property working as part of a secretarial pool in the department.
When speaking to Aileen about her 45 years at the firm she stepped back in time, reminiscing about old colleagues, where everyone used to sit and how things were run before the introduction of computers and other modern technology. She insists that, “The first 10 years were the best due to the fact that the firm was small and you really got to know everyone well. As the firm grew inevitably it became more difficult to know everyone and go on every night out!”
She went on to regale, “My funniest memory of the Queen’s Road days was during the miners’ strike in the 70’s when, due to the fact there was no heating or lighting, Mr Christie said the ladies could wear trousers to keep warm. It was approaching winter time and it got dark between 3 and 4 and for this reason we all thought we would be sent home early but instead they brought in calor gas lamps and put one on each desk so that we could see. The problem was that they gave off black smoke so, by the end of the day, we all looked as though we had been down the mines – and I’m not joking!”
When asked about the most memorable moment of her career she talked of the surprise party the firm held for her when she reached 20 years’ service, “I really had no idea that they were planning anything, it was such a shock. I received a beautiful gift and we had a fantastic evening”.
When I asked her what has made her stay all this time, her reply was simple, “The people. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really lovely people.”
Managing Partner, Keith Allan enthused, “We are absolutely honoured that Aileen has given the firm 45 years’ service. She is loyal, modest and extremely hard working. She is a real asset to us and probably knows more about the firm and its history than any of us. We only hope she stays long enough to celebrate 50 years!”