We can trace our roots back over 230 years to the time when George III was on the throne, William and Caroline Hershel discovered Uranus, the British were beaten by the Americans and the French at the Battle of Yorktown (but they were out-numbered!), William Pitt was the youngest person elected to Parliament at the tender age of 22 and railway engineer George Stephenson was born. As you can see we are in illustrious company.
In 1968 the firm of Whitehead Monckton was created by the amalgamation of Whitehead, Thomas & Urmston and Monckton Son & Collis. Both these firms had a long, but somewhat contrasting history. The firm of Whitehead, Thomas & Urmston began in premises at No. 9 King Street by George Burr in about 1781. However, between then and 1968 there were no less than 23 alterations to the firm’s name reflecting changes in partners. It seemed necessary in earlier days to reflect any change in the composition of the firm by an equivalent change in title.
By contrast, in 1825 John Monckton set up in practice at the lower end of the High Street in Maidstone and in 1839 moved to No. 70 King Street which was also used as a residence for the Monckton family. Some years later he acquired the adjoining premises at 72 King Street. Both buildings are still in use as the main office of the firm but have undergone significant changes over the years and now provide comfortable modern facilities for clients and staff.
Historically both firms were noted for their connection with public appointments including the posts of Under Sheriff of Kent, Town Clerk of Maidstone, Clerk to the Tax Commissioners, Law Society agents and Coroner of Mid Kent and Medway. Robert Coombe, who heads the property team is the current Under Sherriff of Kent.
The firm expanded in to the Weald of Kent in 1984 when Timothy Monckton opened a branch office in Tenterden. He represented the sixth generation of the Monckton family in succession to be partners in the firm. Tim retired from the partnership in March 2014, but continues his association with the firm as a Consultant.
The firm was one of the first law practices in the country to open an Investment Management Department in 1995 to provide an in-house service to clients with investment portfolios and a dedicated independent financial service. There have been many recent developments within the investment management arena and in 2013, the department became a commercially independent branch of Raymond James Investment Services. Mark Beaney who established the department in 1995, is now Branch Principal of the Raymond James Weald of Kent Branch and continues to manage the investment management operation. This development enabled the Investment team to offer clients their personalised service matched with international investment and product research.
Whitehead Monckton achieved the Law Society's international practice management standard, Lexcel, in 2010. This accreditation has been retained since 2010 following a rigorous independent assessment each year to ensure we meet the required standards of excellence in areas such as client care, case management and risk management.
In 2013, the firm opened an office in Canterbury at 32-33 Watling Street. We already had a large number of clients in East Kent so it was a logical move to expand our offices to offer our full range of legal services to clients from a convenient central Canterbury location. With the three offices in Kent we are now able to offer our clients easier access to our services and solicitors.
In April 2014, the firm moved from a traditional partnership to a Limited Company, offering a more flexible structure to enable us to compete in today’s market. Partners of the firm became Directors under the Limited Company.
We joined LawNet on 1st August 2015, an association of over sixty six independent law firms. The LawNet team have been supporting independent law firms for over 25 years.
In October 2016, we were delighted to merge with Docklands Solicitors, a firm established right in the centre of Canary Wharf. Docklands Solicitors was established in 2005 to provide bespoke legal expertise to individuals who live and work in the thriving area of “Docklands”. Although wholly owned by Whitehead Monckton, Docklands Solicitors will continue to trade under its established name. Key members of the Whitehead Monckton team have already transferred to the Docklands office and additional lawyers will meet clients at the London office and attend relevant events when appropriate.
We see this latest development as an exciting opportunity to offer our approach and legal services to a new and thriving market.
Whitehead Monckton is proud to have served the people of Kent for over 235 years and we look forward to continuing to do so long into the future.