This was the question faced by the High Court in the recent case of KA v MA. In it the Judge...
From 1821 to 1899
Geo. Sperling being admitted in 1821 (Deceased at 57, 3 November 1858) - A letter to G. Sperling from 1842 is in storage.
Decimus Sewell was admitted and practised in Halstead High Street. He was joined in Partnership by Edward Henry Inman admitted 1871 and they moved to a house nearly opposite Red House.
Robert Rutherford Morton was admitted at Michaelmas. (Robert married Miss Sinclair and had 3 daughters and 2 sons. One daughter becoming a celebrated Wimbledon player - Agatha Morton.
1 January G W Harris and RR Morton joined partnership. (G W Harris deceased 2 April 1892 at 73) - Partnership deed in storage. The firm’s name changed to Harris Morton & Harris in the deed.
R. R Morton had been appointed Clerk to the Local Board of Health (by 1899 the local board of Health had become the Urban District Council of with R. R Morton was Clerk).
Ernest Edward Surridge was admitted and took over the practice in the high street in 1897.
R. R Morton became Urban District Council Clerk.
W.A. Smith was admitted. He practiced alone in Colchester Road Halstead until 1905.
From 1903 to 1946
Francis died a bachelor at Aswan in Egypt on 10th March. (Francis Harris succeeded his father as clerk of the Magistrates and county court registrar as high Baliff). 1918 Egyptian letters of administration in storage.
R. R Morton’s son Gerard Sinclair Morton practiced alone in Torquay Devon until 1903 & joined his father in Halstead following the death of Francis Harris.
Renamed to Morton & Son.
W. A Smith entered into partnership with Ernest Edward Surridge. From 1905 - 1914 E. E Surridge was also in partnership with “Beaumont” of Coggeshall.
R. R Morton died on 16 January leaving G. S Morton the surviving partner.
G. S Morton accepted Ronald Long as an Articled Clerk.
Morton & Son acquired by Ronald Long and G.S Morton.
The practice was sold to Ronald Long and that of Morton & Son were amalgamated as W A Smith, Morton & Son.
GS Morton retired.
George Dyer Nott was admitted.
From 1935 – 1945 Ronald Long was clerk to the North West Essex Regional Planning committee and in the War years was the Local Executive Office in charge of Food Control and Civil Defence.
Red House, Halstead was purchased by Halstead Urban District Council.
31st December W. A Smith died from pneumonia.
Terms of partnership with George Dyer Nott started 1st February. - Deed of Partnership in Storage.
David H Hughes OBE was admitted. (Only stayed for a short while as he became Official Receiver of Uganda after serving with the Friends Ambulance in the 1939 - 44 War).
Ronald Long was the local commanding officer of 1163 squadron Colne Valley Air Training Corps from 1941-45.
R. Long and James Alfred Hines agreed terms of partnership on 1st November. J. A Hines was a Captain in the R.A. due for early release from the Army because he had joined up at the commencement and served throughout the war.
The Partnership agreement with R Long and James Alfred was recorded. Partnership Agreement in Storage
From 1950 to 1979
Ronald was appointed as a member of the Society’s Eastern Legal Aid Committee on its inception.
Ronald Long became President of the Suffolk and Essex Law Society.
Ronald Long was appointed a member of the Disciplinary Committee.
R. Long became President of the Law Society and was knighted in 1964.
Ronald Long, James Alfred Hines, David Lumsden Colthorpe and Tony Frost became partners under the name Smith, Morton & Long. - Partnership agreement in box.
In July Ronald Long was knighted and became founder and first solicitor member of the criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Sir Ronald Long was Chairman of Whitlock Bros Ltd, of Great Yeldham from 1966-72.
Richard Ronald Long son of Ronald Long became partner from 16th May. Sir Ronald Long becomes Chairman of the School Governors.
Sir Ronald Long was Chairman of the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee (1968-78).
Christopher Holmes became partner.
1st April Smith, Morton & Long took over Mr John Donnelly’s practice on 11 & 12 West Stockwell Street Colchester. Mr Donnelly let the office premises to them on a five year lease.
A re-organisation of the firm was undertaken by six partners – Sir Ronald Long, James Alfred Hines, Anthony Hazelwood Frost, David Lumsden Colthorpe, Richard Ronald Long and Christopher John Holmes. This was recorded in a Deed of Partnership dated 20th February 1973 which was in effect from 15th May 1972.
Mr Robert Douglas Mark Stevens became a salaried partner and retired on 15th May 1976.
Philip William George M.A. and Edmund John Barton became salaried partners with the six. Mr George was based at Colchester and Mr Barton at Halstead. - Deed of partnership in storage.
Sir Ronald Long became Chairman of the Governors of Earls Colne Grammar School and President of the Essex Club.
Sir Ronald Long became consultant.
Adrian W. Livesley LL.B joined.
From 1980 to 2000
Susan Masters and Adrian Livesley became partners.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother officially opened St Helena Hospice, with Christopher Holmes by her side.
4 October Sir Ronald Long dies. - Newspaper clippings from the Halstead Gazette are in storage.
They took over the practice J E Daldy & Co in Clacton on Sea. John Daldy (admitted 1950) retired in 1992 and in 1992 the practice was disposed of to the then resident solicitor Miss Jane Pleass. - Agreements in storage.
Bill Mabon became partner.
1st October was called Birkett Westthorpe & Long.
Smith Morton & Long merge with Birketts and Westhorp Ward & Catchpole.
The Colchester office was officially opened by John Wakeham who was a government minister and local Maldon MP.
Birkett Long introduce Independent Financial Advisers to the firm.
Jane Calnan became partner.
Sheldon Pumfrey became partner.
Chris Holmes was Chairman of St Helena Hospice until 1996.
Philip Hoddell became partner.
The Partnership of Birkett Westhorp & Long which had been formed in 1989 by the merger of Smith Morton & Long merge with Birketts and Westhorp Ward & Catchpole, was dissolved and the practice divided down the county boundary and the modern firm Birkett Long was born. Bruce Ballard, Jane Eatock, Andrew Cotterell, Louise Long and Wanda Domhof joined the new partnership of Birkett Long.
Keith Larkman and Tony Peel (Chairman of Essex County Council), Partners in Asher Prior Bates of Colchester joined the firm as Partner and consultant respectively.
Chris Holmes was Chairman of Macmillan Cancer Support in Essex until his death.
Richard Long retires.
www.birkettlong.co.uk was created.
In June David Colthorpe stepped down as a Partner, remaining with the firm on a consultancy basis, and Peter Allen, Kurt Goddard and Tim Ogle were admitted into Partnership.
From 2000 to 2010
Chris Holmes was Deputy Lieutenant and was awarded the OBE for his public services.
In June Birkett Long increased its presence in Essex, when it opened its third office at Ocean House, Waterloo Lane, Chelmsford. At the same time, David Cammack became a Partner.
Birgit Ris joined the Firm as a Partner in the Corporate and Transactions team, becoming a consultant on 16 August 2004.
David Wisbey joined the Firm and the Corporate and Transaction Team as a Partner Tony Frost stepped down as a Partner, remaining with the firm on a consultancy basis, and Simon Loome was admitted into the Partnership.
Claire Read became a Partner in the Personal Tax, Trusts & Probate Team.
The office grew rapidly and on 29 August the firm moved to much larger premises at Number One Legg Street Chelmsford; this was part of a long term strategy to be the leading full service firm in Essex by providing all legal services in both offices. On the same date the firm closed its Halstead office and personnel working there were transferred to the Chelmsford or Colchester offices.
Tracey Dickens became a Partner in the Commercial & Corporate Finance Team.
Christopher Holmes and Sheldon Pumfrey retired from the Partnership, with Christopher remaining with the firm on a consultancy basis. David Colthorpe and Tony Peel retired as consultants with the firm. Justina Ridley became a Partner in the Residential Property Team. October Birgit Ris was no longer a consultant with the firm.
Keith Larkman stepped down as a Partner, remaining with the firm on a consultancy basis. Keith Songhurst became a Partner in the Commercial Litigation Team and Stephen Avila became a consultant with the firm.
Chris O'Mahony became a consultant with the firm. John Morgan became a consultant with the firm and Tony Frost former MP and senior partner retired as a consultant with the firm.
1 May Birkett Long acquired with Jackson & Partners.
Philip George stepped down as managing partner and retired from the Partnership but remained with the firm on a consultancy basis.
1 June Birkett Long acquired Weight Wolny & Trusler. Bob Wolny became a Partner in the Chelmsford Property Team and John Trusler became a Consultant with the firm. David Rayner became a Partner in the Chelmsford Property Team.
From 2011 to 2016
Liz Jones became a Partner in the Care Team. Amanda Smallcombe became a Partner in the Civil Litigation Team. Kevin Sullivan became a Partner in the Corporate & Insolvency Team. Louise Pisano and David Cant became the first non-lawyer Partners with the Firm. Simon Loome left the Partnership. Keith Larkman became a Non-Practising Consultant.
On the 3 October a new South Essex office opened at Phoenix House in Basildon. This was part of a long term strategy to be recognised as the leading full service firm and the best legal business in and throughout Essex.
Birkett Long opened its first Twitter account.
Birkett Long employs their fist apprentice.
On the 1 June Birkett Long acquired Brian Ruff, Angus & Jewers. Alex Angus and Robert Jewers became Consultants with the firm.
In July Birkett Long support a local Basildon athletic runner Gemma Kersey.
On the 1 May Birkett Long merged with E.Edwards, Son & Noice. Jane Calnan retired in December.
Birkett Long achieved the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Standard.
Birkett Long sponsor Colchester athlete Louise Persent.
Melanie Bache is promoted to Partner in the Colchester office.
Birkett Long is awarded the gold Investors in People award.
On the 1 September Birkett Long acquired Asher Prior Bates.
Justin Stock joins Birkett Long as Partner.
Caroline Dowding is promoted to Partner in the Colchester wills, trust and probate team.
November Birkett Long creates a Facebook account.
January – Birkett Long choose Cry as Charity of the year
January – Birkett Long 2015 charity of the year RGF raise over £11,000
February – Ben P and Liz J become Solicitors for the Elderly
March – Birkett Long raise £3,825 for CoHoC
April – Birkett Long launch BL Human Resources
April – Birkett Long teams become members of Dementia Friends
April – James Anaxagorou joins as BD for BL HR
April – The Birkett Long Chelmsford office relocates to prime site
April – Birkett Long become award winners for third year! We win Bronze at the EDA awards for business blog
June – Daniel Sturman and Paul Chilver become associates
August – Birkett Long IFA’s employ its 1st Financial planner trainee
September – Birkett Long’s trainees qualify! Caroline and Ella
November – Birkett Long becomes an Innovation50 Businesses within Essex
January – Simon Green, Jenny Bruce, Emma Harper and Lorraine Younger are promoted to Associate