It is with considerable sadness that we reflect on the untimely death of Keith Robinson. Keith died on 11 January 2018 after being diagnosed with cancer in early Summer 2017. Keith’s death has rocked our community at Sherrards. He was a wonderful lawyer, wonderful family member and wonderful friend. Our thoughts are with Keith’s family and in particular his wife Vanessa and children Simon, Alex and Ben.
Keith joined us in October 2010 at a time when many people would be thinking about retirement or, at least, slowing down, but not Keith. For Keith, the practice of corporate law was a challenge he relished as he threw himself into life at Sherrards to help with the development of our corporate team and, in particular, our London Office.
Keith never wavered in his support of younger lawyers and trainees who he would always mentor and champion, taking time out of his day to explain and teach others when it came to the ‘whys and wherefores’ of drafting. Keith was incredibly patient and willing to bring on others. If there was a firm get together, then Keith was always to be seen with his tremendous bonhomie and he certainly put John Travolta to shame when it came to the Christmas party.
Keith had a core client base who remained loyal and supportive throughout his career, with some current clients dating back 35 years and many becoming friends for life. Indeed, Keith stayed very close to many of his colleagues, joining Sherrards with Paul Marmor who first worked with Keith when he was a junior lawyer at Keith’s old firm, Stallards. Keith was the senior partner of Stallards having joined them in the early eighties from Stephenson Harwood. Keith’s management style was collaborative and collegiate allowing his staff to think and breathe for themselves. He believed in autonomy.
When Stallards merged in 1998 to form Hardwick Stallards, Keith continued as senior partner until the merger to form DMH Stallard. Keith then took on the role of head of corporate finance before joining Sherrards in a similar position in 2010. Clearly, Keith had a brilliant intellect but with a very unstuffy manner in terms of communicating clearly and concisely on paper, or in person, leaving all parties on a deal appreciating his input.
It’s well known that Keith simply enjoyed the challenge and the rough and tumble of the corporate legal world too much to walk away. But as Keith approached his 70th year, he announced, well before the diagnosis, that he was going to hang up his quill pen (actually he happily embraced modern technology) and put his copy of the Company Act back on the shelf as he sailed into retirement. At least, that was the plan making his death even more poignant.
On a positive note, Keith had been a very keen sailor for many years and worked tirelessly as Company Secretary and Legal Advisor of his principal charity, Sail Training International (“STI“). The goal of STI is to help more people have an adventure at sea and tell the world about sail training and the benefits, especially for underprivileged young people, of voyages on the high seas in traditional Tall Ships. The culmination of a number of years’ work was the classic gathering of Tall Ships in Quebec and Nova Scotia, Canada to commemorate the 150th year of Canadian independence. Before his treatment commenced Keith was able to attend the gathering in person with Vanessa in Summer 2017. Keith was clearly thrilled that he was able to be there, joyfully sharing his photos and regaling us with his adventure and obvious pleasure at the trip that he had made with Vanessa.
Sail Training International will clearly be bereft of Keith’s presence, as will the world of sailing. We will miss Bara Brith, the traditional Welsh cake that he regularly brought into the office after his trips to his caravan in North Wales something he had been doing with Vanessa for decades.
When all was said and done, Keith was very down to earth, happy with a pint of something but also not averse to a glass or two of a fine Cabernet Sauvignon!! He was very sociable and his Thunderers Group will never be the same again.
So we pass on our condolences to Keith’s family and, in particular, Vanessa, Simon, Ben and Alex and the grandchildren who Keith was so proud and supportive of.
We salute Keith – as a lawyer, family man and friend.