Thomson Snell & Passmore

Last updated
Thomson Snell & Passmore
HeadquartersTunbridge Wells
No. of offices2
No. of attorneys130 [1]
No. of employees242 [1]
Major practice areasGeneral Practice
Key peopleSenior Partner – James Partridge [2] CEO – Sarah Henwood [3]
Revenue£21.2m (2018) [1] [4]
Date founded1570
FounderNicholas Hooper
Slogan Here for you since 1570

Thomson Snell & Passmore is a law firm in Kent, in the United Kingdom. It holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest continually operating law firm still in existence. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] Some of the documents retained by the firm have been used in the television series Downton Abbey to lend an air of authenticity to the show. [8]

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, informally as Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

<i>Downton Abbey</i> British historical drama television series set in the early 20th century.

Downton Abbey is a British historical period drama television series set in the early 20th century, created by Julian Fellowes. The series first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom on 26 September 2010, and in the United States on PBS, which supported production of the series as part of its Masterpiece Classic anthology, on 9 January 2011.



In 1570 a curate of the Tonbridge Parish Church by the name of Nicholas Hooper announced himself as a "scrivener and drafter of documents". [5] [6] [7] [8] He supplemented his ecclesiastical stipend by drafting wills and property bonds, [6] and taking advantage of the expansion of merchant activity under the reign of Elizabeth I of England. [8] Hooper's son John took over the practice in 1618, [6] and the firm stayed in the family until John's descendant George Hooper died in 1759. [8]

Curate person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish

A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.

Scrivener clerk, scribe, or notary

A scrivener was a person who could read and write or who wrote letters to court and legal documents. Scriveners were people who made their living by writing or copying written material. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and historical records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. Scriveners later developed into public servants, accountants, lawyers and petition writers.

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

After George Hooper's death the firm was acquired by Thomas Scoons of Tonbridge, who also controlled the Pantiles. [6] [8] He passed it to his son, William Scoons, who was joined by his own sons William Junior and John Scoons. [10] In the 1850s the Scoons family died off, leaving the firm to a partner, Sydney Alleyne. [10] The firm was known as Alleyne & Walker during the Victorian era. [6] In 1890 it was taken over by John Thomas Freer, becoming Alleyne Morgan & Freer. [6] In 1939 the firm was bought by another firm, Templar & Passmore. [6] The firm acquired its current name in 1968. [7]

Tonbridge market town in Kent, England

Tonbridge is a market town in Kent, England, on the River Medway, 4 miles (6 km) north of Royal Tunbridge Wells, 12 miles (19 km) south west of Maidstone and 29 miles (47 km) south east of London. In the administrative borough of Tonbridge and Malling, it had a population of 40,356 in 2015.

Victorian era period of British history encompassing Queen Victorias reign (1837–1901)

In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodist, and the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War; a Pax Britannica of international free trade was maintained by the country's naval and industrial supremacy. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion, particularly in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked.

Frederick Alfred Snell, the son of the founder of one of the firms that merged to create the current firm, held the record for the oldest practising solicitor in England at his death at the age of 96 in 1954. [5] [6]

Practice areas

As of 2017, Thomson Snell & Passmore operates in the areas of wills, trusts, and estates, property law, and commercial law, as they have since 1570. [11] [12] [13] [14] In addition they offer a wide variety of modern services to both individuals and businesses.

Probate proving of a will

Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in the state of residence [or real property] of the deceased at time of death in the absence of a legal will.

Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership and tenancy in real property and in personal property, within the common law legal system. In the civil law system, there is a division between movable and immovable property. Movable property roughly corresponds to personal property, while immovable property corresponds to real estate or real property, and the associated rights, and obligations thereon.

Commercial law body of law that applies to persons and businesses engaged in commerce

Commercial law, also known as trade law, is the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales. It is often considered to be a branch of civil law and deals with issues of both private law and public law.

In recent years they have expanded their focus on commercial clients, with a 25.5% growth in income from commercial clients in the first half of 2016. [4] During the same time period, the firm's private client practice grew by 7%. [4] Growth continued in the latter part of 2016, despite concerns about the effect Brexit would have on the British economy. [15]

Brexit United Kingdoms withdrawal from the European Union

Brexit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). Following a referendum held on 23 June 2016 in which 51.9 per cent of those voting supported leaving the EU, the invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union started a two-year process which was due to conclude with the UK's exit on 29 March 2019, a deadline which was later extended to 12 April 2019.

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  1. 1 2 3 "Key Facts". Thomson Snell & Passmore. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  2. "James Partridge". Thomson Snell & Passmore. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  3. "Sarah Henwood". Thomson Snell & Passmore. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  4. 1 2 3 Price, Chris (26 June 2016). "Thomson Snell & Passmore net profits up 20%". Kent Business. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 Weiss, Debra (November 30, 2015). "This law firm is the world's oldest". ABA Journal. American Bar Association. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Price, Chris (19 November 2015). "Guinness World Record for oldest law firm in operation goes to Thomson Snell & Passmore, based in Tunbridge Wells and Dartford". Kent Business. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  7. 1 2 3 "Oldest law firm: Thomson Snell & Passmore breaks Guinness World Records record". World Record Academy. November 22, 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Record books beckon for world's oldest legal firm". Times of Tunbridge Wells. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  9. "Oldest law firm in operation". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  10. 1 2 "Thomson Snell & Passmore: a short history for a firm long on heritage". Thopson Snell & Passmore. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  11. "Wills, Trusts & Tax Planning". Thomson Snell and Passmore. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  12. "Residential Conveyancing". Thomson Snell & Passmore. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  13. "Commercial Property & Development". Thomson Snell & Passmore. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  14. "Commercial". Thomson Snell & Passmore. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  15. Price, Chris (12 December 2016). "Thomson Snell & Passmore grows revenues but remains cautious about Brexit impact". Kent Business. Retrieved 19 January 2017.