Stephen D Smith 'The Rumpole of Rotherham'
'Rumpole meets James Herriot meets - total mayhem !'
Stephen D Smith is a larger-than-life criminal lawyer based in Rotherham. Born in Sheffield in 1948, he ended up in the legal profession by default - I had always wished to be a professional musician - a keyboard player - but while I waited for my big breakthrough, I started work at Bury & Walkers in Barnsley. I remember my first job was to blow up a rugby ball for the senior partner's son and the second to collect sandwiches and cakes for the typing pool!'
From this inauspicious beginning in 1965, Steve rose to qualify as a solicitor in 1979. In 1981 he formed his own practice, Wilford Smith, with his friend Steven Wilford ('the stable one').
Steve has represented a wide range of clients - from the late Adam Faith to Prince Nazeem Hamed - and has appeared in a number of controversial cases. One of his famous cases was the 'Biker Case' in 1996, where John Megson was wrongly convicted of murder.
Steve appeared in two BBC Rough Justice programmes before winning an appeal for Megson’s release.
In addition to his day job, Steve is a professional public speaker - in 2004 he was chosen from the ranks of 87,000 solicitors to perform the closing speech in honour of Lord Irving. He speaks regularly to all types of audience, from the Yorkshire Literary Lunch, appearing alongside Jonathan Dimbleby, Pam Rhodes and Lesley Pearce, to events with popular figures such as Barbara Windsor, Emmerdale’s Lucy Pargeter, and Jim Bowen, to name but a few.
Steve appears regularly on radio and television as a legal pundit, particularly Yorkshire TV and BBC North. He is also a seasoned pantomime performer - his performances as the Emperor in Aladdin and Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington are still talking points amongst his many fans (all fees donated to the Parents’ Association for children with tumours)!
According to Jeremy Beadle 'he is a naturally gifted storyteller and he possesses the even rarer talent, to be able to place his tales in print, so that it reads as he speaks - a real treat, as anyone who has heard Stephen spin a yarn will happily agree.' Boozers, Ballcocks & Bail - the first in Steve’s legal series - was originally self-published, with the series as a whole selling 40,000 copies within Yorkshire.
Steve is married with a daughter and lives in Rotherham. He is an active charity worker, particularly for children with cancer, and his current campaign is to bring cricket within the reach of disadvantaged children in Yorkshire. He is president of Rotherham Town Cricket Club. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2006 Honours List for charitable services to Rotherham and South Yorkshire.
For an account of Steve Smith in his own words - and the answer to the question of what Lord Byron and Steve Smith have in common - check out the 'About Me' section of his website.