Law Firm Closes After Working Through Eight Monarchs’ Lifetimes

One of the oldest law firms in England has fallen into liquidation and closed its doors after almost 250 years of providing legal advice.

Founded in 1773, Brighton Firm Howlett Clarke Solicitors, would have been engaged in legal concerns regarding the Tea Act that looked at issues involving smuggled tea into England when they were originally formed.

Having opened in the reign of King George III, known for his madness, the firm have successfully operated throughout the reigns of eight subsequent Kings and Queens. However, the firm shut its doors at the end of January following a period of sustained difficulty and reducing business.

Despite running two offices and boasting/promoting itself as one of the oldest law firms in Britain and the oldest in Brighton and Hove, the law firm stopped taking new instructions and clients in January.

In recent weeks, it has been forced to make its 19 employees redundant.

Companies House financial statements indicate that the firm were indebted to creditors by £1.45 million and had increased its debts by 5% in recent months.

The firm was one of the 15 pioneers to launch QualitySolicitors, a network of local firms that has since become the largest in the UK with over 100 regions covered.

A QualitySolicitors statement said: “We would like to acknowledge the close relationship we had with Howlett Clarke Solicitors, a well-established law firm and longstanding network partner.

“The news of the firm’s administration was sad to hear and ultimately points to the challenges of a tough current marketplace. We understand the firm has put arrangements in place to ensure a smooth transition for those clients affected. We wish those in the team the very best for the future.”

Whilst many firms rely on their reputation to garner new business, in such a fast moving legal environment a law firm will increasingly need to diversify the ways it attracts potential business.

Are you shocked by the closure of such an established law firm? Is the current political, economic and social climate making it more difficult for law firms to thrive?

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