2020 marks Slee Blackwell’s 100th anniversary
The firm was founded by Ernest Slee shortly after returning from World War One where he served with the Royal Flying Corps.
His son, Jack Slee, joined the business as a trainee in 1927 and in 1936 he was made a partner along with Robert Fuller, the firm becoming known as Slee, Fuller & Slee.
Geoffrey Thorne replaced Mr Fuller a short while later, with another associated name change to Slee, Thorne & Slee.
1937 saw the Slees teaming up with Douglas Blackwell who they took on as a trainee. In those days trainees, or articled clerks as they were then known, received little in the way of wages and in fact their own family would pay the firm for training them. When war broke out both Jack Slee and Douglas Blackwell joined up, with Jack’s return to the office being delayed by an unavoidable spell in a German prisoner of war camp.
The war years had been a difficult time for the firm and the accounts reveal that the partners earned less than £7 in 1944. However, business soon picked up and in 1947 Douglas Blackwell joined the partnership, giving the name of the firm a familiar ring, Slee, Blackwell & Slee.
The practice went from strength to strength. The partnership expanded steadily and it became impractical for each new partner to be added to the name of the firm. It therefore remained as Slee, Blackwell & Slee until 1987 when the business enjoyed a branding makeover. The second ‘Slee’ was dropped, much to the retired Jack Slee’s disappointment, with the firm adopting its present name of Slee Blackwell, and the distinctive dotted i and crossed t logo being used for the first time.
In 2016 we became a limited liability partnership, or LLP. We currently have 13 partners and five offices.
Slee Blackwell Solicitors LLP have therefore travelled a very long way since founding partner Ernest Slee set the business up in 1920. All the current partners and staff are looking forward to celebrating the firm’s centenary year and with any luck future generations of lawyers will be around to celebrate our bicentennial in 2120!