Allandon Services Limited is a legal services and consulting company set up by legal expert, Allan Donovan LL.B (Hons) to provide legal information, advice and assistance to companies, local authorities and individuals who require it.

Allan Donovan

Allan Donovan lawyer

Allan Donovan legal services

Allan Donovan professional lawyer

Below is an interview of legal expert and writer, which is a window into the personal and professional life of Allan Donovan conducted by writer and good friend, Terry Didcott.

Interview with Allan Donovan

So, what's an Allan Donovan then, and what makes you tick?

Well I was born and raised in the east end of London. I left school with not a lot in the way of qualifications and spent about 15 years not knowing where I wanted to go. I'd been in and out of jobs on building sites, done labouring and cable installation work, van and lorry driving, tried my hand as a market trader and even "roadied" for a band, (it was Japan but they won't remember me)! Mostly though, I worked as a printer and held some quite senior posts. Then by chance, I picked up on a "throw away" remark one of my old printing buddies made and took it as a challenge. There and then I set out to prove that you don't have to be super human or super intelligent to gain a degree and get a "proper" education and that was the start of my law degree. Upon reflection, going back to college as a "mature" student to study for a degree in law whilst holding down a 6 day a week printing job, I began to realise that I had probably been a bit hasty with the "super human" bit!

The natural progression, for me, following my law degree was a professional qualification; I never really saw myself as an out and out academic so I opted for the Bar. So, after 4 years study for my degree I then spent a further year on the bar vocational course and after I was called to the bar it took a further 18 months to secure a pupillage. Fortunately, I was able to do some lecturing and found some work as an outdoor clerk, which kept me fed and paid the rent. It was the outdoor clerking that resulted in an offer of a 12 month pupillage, albeit unpaid!

Sounds like a hard slog!

And some! But - I persevered and reached my goal. Tenacity! Well, you did ask what makes me tick. Tenacity is a big part of my character and a big part of what's made me.

Could you start by clearing up some confusion for me? You are a qualified barrister but you work as a consultant. How is that?

That's right, I am a qualified barrister but that is no more than a statement of fact. It tells people that I chose to enter the legal profession as a barrister rather than solicitor. But I don't practise as a barrister from a set of chambers, which is what most people think when they hear the term "barrister". I don't conduct any advocacy or appear in court for any clients. I accept instructions for work purely on a consultancy basis.

Even though I work as a legal consultant I cannot deny the fact that I qualified as a barrister any more than I could deny my law degree. I gained my law degree, dined at my inn of court throughout my studies, passed the bar vocational course, was called to the bar by Middle Temple, and went on to complete a 12 month pupillage. All of that is a statement of historical fact, so yes; I am qualified as barrister although I am not in practise but I work as a consultant.

So, you left the practising bar after you completed your pupillage, what next?

I spent some time at the Consumers' Association (Which?) where I specialised in consumer law before broadening my scope into more general commercial law. That was followed by some agency and ad hoc work for business colleagues with interests in various sectors such as construction, telecoms and IT. All of which proved a useful grounding for my next in house role which was with a legal advice call centre. Most of the clients were SME operators and the advice covered a very broad spectrum. Whilst there I also developed my writing skills and wrote articles for a number of trade magazines as well as learning modules for a prestigious government led learning programme. I left there to pursue my consultancy business and over the past few years have received instructions from various local authorities to assist them with commercial contracts generally and, more specifically, procurement exercises including EU procurement.

So, how much further do you hope to go?

Well there is still a great deal happening as far as public procurement is concerned. I think the new remedies directive will see to that within the UK. But, personally, I would like to take things a great deal further, quite literally. PFI is the Holy Grail of procurement so I'm looking to gain experience there but personally, my ultimate aim is to take my experience overseas to somewhere like the Middle East or South East Asia. Countries looking to access global markets or build on internal infrastructure could do a lot worse than look to the EU procurement experience so, hopefully, experience gained here will one day transfer across.

All work and no play, or work hard play hard?

Ha Ha - definitely the latter. You should always make time for play. I've enjoyed a love affair with motorbikes since I was about 15 when I first rode my Brother's BSA Bantam and owned the first of many bikes over the years from the age of 16. The bikes I ride these days fall into the "cruiser" category, although the Kawasaki Mean Streak that I previously owned is not for the faint hearted!

I gained private pilot's licence some time ago as well, although that has now lapsed. There is something about aeroplanes and motorbikes that seem to go hand in hand, although I must admit that the Cessna 152 is quite serene compared to "Top Gun".

I suppose the 'planes and 'bikes thing is part of my greater love of travel generally. I wish there'd have been gap years when I was younger. Still, numerous places in Europe and several visits to the USA have all been enjoyable enough. The icing on the cake has to be Australia in 2003 and being there to see a glorious England take victory in the rugby World cup. A truly unforgettable experience! An amazing stopover in Singapore made the trip even more memorable. It was a difficult choice between Singapore and Thailand but I have long since made up the difference with visits to Thailand.

Your personal and professional achievements are very impressive. Is there anything left?

Oh, for sure. Everyone's got to have a dream. Professionally, I would relish an opportunity to apply my skills and experience in completely fresh surroundings. The Middle East or South East Asia are both very appealing. On a personal note; that's easy. I'd retire to Thailand and live out the rest of my days with Nuy, my beautiful Thai wife. Like I say; you've gotta have a dream!

Terry Didcott

Allandon Services Limited