Richard Johnson retiring after a great innings at Stacks Law Firm
On 1 December this year, Richard Johnson will be retiring from his position as Director at Stacks Law Firm in Taree, after nearly 44 years with the company.
After completing his Higher School Certificate in Wingham in 1973, Richard responded to an advertisement for a clerk’s position at Stacks in Taree. His application was successful and he commenced work in January 1974.
Richard studied with the Solicitors Admission Board for a year before commencing an external law degree at Macquarie University in 1975.
Maurie Stack remembers those early days with affection. “Richard had a great deal of energy and passion and had a particular enthusiasm for his motorbike. I seem to remember visiting Richard in hospital after he had the odd argument with a bridge or a tree. He certainly developed an early empathy with accident victims!”
“He was an excellent articled clerk and the clients all loved him. He didn’t have such a great passion for study, but his wife Libby encouraged him to finish his degree. Well, when I say ‘encouraged’, I mean she basically locked him in a room and didn’t let him out. He just sailed through his exams after that.”
“I wasn’t allowed to have children until my law degree was finished,” Richard clarifies. Faced with this constraint, Richard graduated in 1984 and was admitted in 1985, before the birth of his son Adam in 1986, his second son Brendan in 1988 and his daughter Kate in 1992.
When the Law Society introduced the specialist accreditation program in the 1990s, Richard was one of the first lawyers in NSW to be made an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law.
Richard met his wife Libby in 1977 through Rotaract. “A friend told me that I should come along to the Rotaract meetings in Forster because the girls were friendlier there,” Richard recalls. “And it was true. Especially one of them.”
Richard and Libby were married in 1980.
Maurie Stack describes Richard as a lawyer who has always had the common touch. “Many people can feel intimidated or apprehensive about attending a law office, particularly for personal injury law. Richard is so easygoing and behaves so naturally that people’s fears would just fall away. Richard developed into a top rate personal injury lawyer. Initially I was his master solicitor and mentor, but now I go to him for advice in motor accident matters.”
Over the years Richard has had extensive involvement in community organisations, including the Taree Soccer Club, Chatham Hockey Club, Bushland Health Group and Manning Support Services. He is currently also an active member of the Rotary of Taree on Manning and the main organiser of their regular Bunnings BBQ events.
With retirement imminent, Richard and Libby are planning to take extensive caravan holidays to enjoy bushwalking and seeing the countryside, as well as spending time with their three grandchildren – Amelia, 9, Noah, 6 and one-month-old Ella.
“When I started working with Maurie I never expected still to be here in the local area all these years later,” says Richard. “I think I’ve had great fortune.”