The Partners and staff of Swinburne Maddison LLP were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of their former Partner and colleague Robert Furness. Although Robert retired from the firm in 2015, he was still a regular visitor to Venture House prior to his completely unexpected passing, often popping in just to check that we were still looking after ‘his clients’.
Robert attended the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle and studied for his Law Degree at Newcastle University. He served his Articles with the then firm of Wilson Maddison in Saddler Street, Durham and immediately upon qualification in 1975 was invited to join the firm as a Partner. This rare accolade was a tribute both to his professionalism and technical expertise and also, no doubt, because of his popularity amongst his peers in Durham City. Throughout his career Robert gathered a large following of loyal clients who appreciated his friendliness, approachability and his great attention to detail. When it came to Conveyancing, Robert simply didn’t make mistakes!
In 1998 Robert became one of the founding Partners of Swinburne Maddison as a result of the merger of Swinburne Jackson and Moreland, and Wilson Maddison. He was a vital component of the fledgling firm which has grown over the years to become one of the leading law firms in the area and it is a legacy of which he and his family can be truly proud.
Robert married his wife Shelagh in 1979 and they have three wonderful children, Hannah, Tom and Joel. Robert’s loyalty to his colleagues and clients was mirrored in his loyalty and devotion to his family and much as we at Swinburne Maddison will miss having him around, we know that his family will miss him so much more and our hearts go out to them at this time.
Robert along with his former Partner Michael Larnach purchased a house in Scotland and in latter years he would love to spend time up there indulging in his other great passion, sailing on the Solway Firth. He leaves behind many many friends both in Durham and in Scotland who will miss his unique qualities and characteristics.
Professional though he was, Robert certainly did not fit the mould of what people might perceive to be a boring, conservative lawyer. Perhaps a tiny bit quirky, he was a larger than life character and truly one of a kind. He was loved and respected and will be sorely missed.