Publish date

22 July 2020

Oldest law firm in operation celebrates its 450th anniversary

Officially recognised by Guinness World Records as the oldest law firm in operation, Thomson Snell & Passmore was originally founded in 1570, by Nicholas Hooper, a curate of the Tonbridge Parish Church in Kent.

Hooper undertook a range of work including will writing and conveyancing. Records remain of a will, which he drew up on behalf of a certain Thomas Lamparde, a ‘yeoman’ of Tonbridge as well as a bond for a property in nearby Hadlow (dated 1593). Now, 450 years later, the firm’s lawyers from across its private client and commercial teams are still supporting individuals and businesses from across the South East with similar services.

Over the centuries, the firm has grown and developed, operating under a progression of names before finally becoming Thomson Snell & Passmore in 1968. The firm is now one of the largest in the South East with expert lawyers from across its private client and commercial groups providing advice to generations of families and businesses. It has been recognised in prestigious rankings such as The Times’ ‘Best Law Firms 2020’, with a large number of individual lawyers and departments also highly ranked in both The Legal 500, Chambers UK and Chambers HNW.

2020 has been a key year for Thomson Snell & Passmore. As well as its anniversary, the firm also appointed a new senior partner – Joanna Pratt – in June. Joanna’s appointment came as James Partridge, who held the role since 2008, reached the end of his final term as senior partner.

Commenting on the anniversary, Sarah Henwood, CEO at Thomson Snell & Passmore says: “Today is a momentous one for the firm. We’re very proud of our long history, and we recognise that we wouldn’t be here today unless we were able to embrace change. From leading the way as early adopters of technology in the 1970’s and setting up a publishing arm producing the first set of legal precedents (which we later sold to Sweet & Maxwell), anticipating and responding to change is part of our DNA.

“As we start to navigate a ‘new normal’ with coronavirus continuing to impact on all aspects of life, this ability to predict and adapt to change will be more important than ever. However, while we will continue to evolve, some things will stay the same. We will always place our clients and our people first and will remain committed to the communities we serve.”

Heathervale House reception

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