Plymouth Blog blog

Solicitors celebrate 200 years

Wolferstans Solicitors in Plymouth have reached an extraordinary landmark; their 200 year anniversary.

The firm was established by Samuel Kelly in 1812 at a time when Plymouth was about to have their biggest population boom.

John Kelly, Samuel’s son, took over the running of the firm from his father. John Kelly is a notable figure in Plymouth history as he served as the town’s mayor twice, from 1855-6 and 1872-3. He had no heir and in 1870s he started a partnership with 32-year-old Thomas Wolferstan, who took over the firm on the occasion of Kelly’s death in 1879.

Over the years Wolferstans has been headed by many different solicitors and by the 1950s the firm had three partners and 17 employees.

Paul Woods took the helm of the business in April 2001. He said: “Three decades ago most of our work would have been residential conveyancing and not much else, now this accounts for less than 10 per cent of our turnover.”

The company has managed to keep up with technological advances over the years and they now have seven legal departments including Family, Medical Negligence and Personal Injury. Half of the staff for these departments are women, unthinkable in 1812!

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