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Guinness World Record for oldest law firm in operation goes to Thomson Snell & Passmore, based in Tunbridge Wells and Dartford

By Chris Price

A law firm in Kent will be honoured by Guinness World Records as the oldest in the world still in operation.

Thomson Snell & Passmore, based in Tunbridge Wells and Dartford, was launched in 1570 by Nicholas Hooper, a curate of the Tonbridge Parish Church.

He announced himself as a ‘scrivener and drafter of documents’ writing wills and property bonds for the local community.

Thomson Snell & Passmore partner Kamal Aggarwal and senior partner James Partridge outside the Thames Gateway office in Dartford
Thomson Snell & Passmore partner Kamal Aggarwal and senior partner James Partridge outside the Thames Gateway office in Dartford

His son John took on the practice after Hooper’s death in 1618, beginning a long line of takeovers which eventually led to the law firm in operation today.

The firm has been in the hands of the Scoones family of Tonbridge in the 18th century and became Alleyne & Walker through the Victorian era.

It was taken over by John Thomas Freer in 1890, changing its name to Alleyne Morgan & Freer.

In 1939 the practice was put up for sale and bought by Templar & Passmore.

Then two firms – Walker, Freer & Brown and Templar & Passmore – worked side by side at 130 High St. Tonbridge until they were joined in partnership.

After a series of complicated link ups Thomson Snell & Passmore was created in 1968.

Thomson Snell & Passmore chief executive Simon Slater
Thomson Snell & Passmore chief executive Simon Slater

The company also once held the record for the oldest practising solicitor in England. Frederick Alfred Snell, the son of the founder, held the accolade shortly before he died in 1954 at the age of 96.

The law firm’s honour will be recorded in the Guinness World Records 2017.

Thomson Snell & Passmore chief executive Simon Slater said: “It is tremendous to be named an official Guinness World Record holder.

“This is an acknowledgement of the firm’s unique longevity and a testament to our resilience as a law firm.

“This recognition underpins our promise to our clients that we will always be here to provide legal support.”

Senior partner James Partridge added: “We are at an exciting place in our history, and as the firm looks ahead – with its extensive experience and heritage – we will continue to grow by prioritising the needs of our clients and adapting our approach to the changing legal landscape.”

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