Bruce Ross, who had a long and distinguished career as a solicitor, died on 20 December aged 75, following a short illness. He has been praised by many of his former colleagues and clients for his unstinting hard work and meticulous attention to detail, as well as his personal warmth, kindness and sense of humour.
Born Frederick Bruce Ross in New Zealand in 1942, but known to all family, friends, colleagues and clients as Bruce, he read Law at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, NZ, before moving to the UK in 1967. Not long after settling here he joined the firm of Ponsford and Devenish, Tivendale And Munday solicitors, which was then based in the City of London, becoming a partner in 1974 and moving with the firm to new offices in Wimbledon in 1979 where he would remain until his retirement in 2016. In 2008, Bruce was instrumental in bringing about the firm’s merger with Hart Brown.
Throughout his 50-year career in the legal profession, Bruce dealt with many areas of law, such as probate, wills, trusts, company formations and commercial property transactions. Paying tribute to Bruce, John Masters, his fellow partner at Ponsfords, recalls: ’Over the years, Bruce had a large number of commercial clients, and on the face of it, it was perhaps surprising that they did not use much larger firms than ourselves, and the fact we retained them was, I firmly believe, down to the client care, personal attention, and general friendliness and rapport that Bruce offered and cultivated.’
One of his biggest and longest running cases was in the 1990s when he acted for an advertising company in litigation with a major high street bank and other large corporations over the disputed rights to a logo the advertiser had created. In Hutchinson Personal Communications Ltd v Hook Advertising Ltd Bruce led the litigation in which resulted in a 1996 ruling that advertising clients cannot take work pitched to them speculatively without a prior agreement, replacing a previous legal precedent established in 1928 and securing a substantial settlement for his clients.