Obiter’s foolish suggestion last week that Wimbledon firm Gregsons, celebrating its 225th anniversary, might be the oldest in the country has been promptly corrected by learned colleagues. As ever, the Law Society’s librarians came up with a definitive answer, pointing out that Thomson Snell & Passmore, founded in 1570, is the oldest firm that they (and the Guinness Book of Records) are aware of. ‘Freshfields also do pretty well with 1743,’ librarian Emma Harris observes.
Reader Michael Loup mentioned another long-serving contender, Wells & Boodle Hatfield in Mayfair, London. ‘Because what is now to be called an apprenticeship is what I served with the firm in the 1950s, then deciding whether to charge three shillings & four pence for a letter or more importantly six shillings & eightpence.
‘Some 45 years later I retired leaving my successors to debate issues such as lockstep shares in the profits.’ Boodle Hatfield traces its origins to 1730. Any other oldies we have missed?