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Thomson Snell & Passmore: World’s oldest law firm still in existence to celebrate 450th anniversary in 2020

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A Kent-based business - which is the world’s oldest law firm in operation - will this year be celebrating its 450th anniversary.

Based in Tunbridge Wells, Thomson Snell & Passmore currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest continually operating law firm still in existence.

Thomson Snell & Passmore had drafted Mr Rudd's will all the way back in December 1794!
Thomson Snell & Passmore had drafted Mr Rudd's will all the way back in December 1794!

This July, they will celebrate a landmark year having opened their doors for the first time back in 1570 - almost 80 years after Christopher Columbus had discovered America.

When Nicholas Hooper, the Tonbridge Parish Church, set up as a scribe and document drafter, little could he have predicted that over four centuries later the firm he founded would still be going from strength to strength.

Some legal documents hundreds of years old are still around today including a will drawn up by the company for Thomas Lamparde - a 'yeoman' of Tonbridge back on August 22, 1593.

Other historic documents retained by the firm have been used in the television series ‘Downton Abbey’ to lend an air of authenticity to the show.

“Thomson Snell & Passmore stands out in the English legal scene for its exceptional lineage,” said Sarah Henwood, CEO of Thomson Snell & Passmore.

Last year, Thomson Snell & Passmore moved into Heathervale House in Tunbridge Wells.
Last year, Thomson Snell & Passmore moved into Heathervale House in Tunbridge Wells.

“There is a clear line of development – of partners passing on the traditions, the culture and the expertise – from one generation to another since the late 16th century.”

With its most recent financial report showing five successive years of organic financial growth, and fee revenues totalling £22million, the firm has its sights firmly set on an exciting future.

From its state of the art new premises at Heathervale House in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, alongside its Thames Gateway office, it is continuing to grow its legal offering and recruit ambitious talent.

“2020 is going to be a really exciting year for us,” she added.

“We’ve settled in well to our fantastic new offices, which are already allowing us to work more collaboratively in delivering excellent service to clients.

Sarah Henwood, who is CEO of Thomson Snell & Passmore, is at the helm of the world’s oldest law firm in operation.
Sarah Henwood, who is CEO of Thomson Snell & Passmore, is at the helm of the world’s oldest law firm in operation.

“As well as celebrating our unique heritage, this year also marks the start of new chapters in our history.

“We’re currently working on our next five year business plan taking us to 2025 and will also welcome a new Senior Partner in the summer.

“The fact that we have reached such a milestone anniversary demonstrates the firm’s ability to adapt and respond to changing times.

“We’re looking forward to carrying on that tradition as we continue to offer exceptional legal services in 2020 and beyond.”

For more information about Thomson Snell & Passmore, visit the official website by clicking here or telephone 01892 510000 for the Tunbridge Wells office.

Documents like this one dating back hundreds of years are on show at Thomson Snell & Passmore but also the local museum in Tunbridge Wells.
Documents like this one dating back hundreds of years are on show at Thomson Snell & Passmore but also the local museum in Tunbridge Wells.

Key facts:

• Founded in 1570

• Holds the Guinness World Record as the ‘oldest law firm in operation’

• Offices in Tunbridge Wells and Thames Gateway

• 243 Employees

• 43 Partners

• Rated 4 out of 5 stars by TrustPilot

450 years later and the law firm continues to grow its legal offering and recruitment of talented employees.
450 years later and the law firm continues to grow its legal offering and recruitment of talented employees.

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