Hodge Halsall LLP – A History
Wilmot Hodge was born in Southport on 11th December 1867. His brother Reginald Hodge was also born in Southport on 18th December 1876.
Wilmot was admitted as a solicitor in November 1889 and was eventually joined by Reginald (who qualified in July 1899) to form the law firm W & R Hodge.
Wilmot was involved in an early prosecution for a driving offence in 1901 the year in which the first motor insurance policy was underwritten by Lloyds.
The firm moved to its current premises at 18 Hoghton Street, Southport in 1907 and has remained there ever since. The Hodge brothers were joined by Robert Halsall, originally as an articled clerk in 1907, and subsequently as a partner, to form W & R Hodge & Halsall. Robert Halsall’s father had to pay Wilmot Hodge the sum of £100 (equivalent to approximately £ 9,000 today) to allow his son to be articled to Wilmot Hodge. This was standard practice at the time and for many years hence.
Wilfred Hodge fought in World War I as a Volunteer and received a letter of thanks for his service from the King and signed by the Secretary of State for War – Winston Churchill. Founder of the firm, Wilmot Hodge, died on 9th October, 1942, but had been pre-deceased by his brother Reginald who died on 11th November, 1939.
Following the retirement of Wilmot and Reginald Hodge, Cuthbert Rudyard Halsall joined Robert Halsall. Cuthbert subsequently continued in practice as the sole partner. The practice thrived during the post-war years with Cuthbert Halsall eventually retiring from the firm on 30th April 1960. The practice continued to thrive with an increasing number of partners one of whom, David Byard, joined the firm as a solicitor in 1976 on the princely annual salary of £ 2,250. David retired as a partner in 2005. W & R Hodge & Halsall were ahead of their time in employing staff usually deemed as past retirement age. The combined age of their two office juniors in the 1970s was 160 years!
W & R Hodge & Halsall merged with another Southport firm Russell & Sutton on 1st January 1985 to create the snappily titled Hodge, Halsall, Russell & Sutton. Solicitor Gordon Hatton was a partner in Russell & Sutton at the time and remains a partner today in Hodge Halsall LLP.
In 1989 Hodge, Halsall, Russell & Sutton merged with Liverpool and Ainsdale firm Cliff Carter & Co – to create Carter Hodge. Mark Robinson, a partner in Cliff Carter & Co, is now Managing Partner of Hodge Halsall LLP.
Carter Hodge had a number of offices with premises in Southport, Birkdale, Ainsdale, Formby, St Helens, Heswall, Liverpool and Chester. The firm was at the forefront of promoting quality standards within solicitors firms throughout the 1990s. It was in the first wave of firms to achieve a legal aid franchise and was one of the first firms in the country to be awarded both the Law Society’s practice management standard, Lexcel, and the Investors in people standard – quality marks which the firm retains to this day.
In 2005 Carter Hodge merged with Maxwell Entwistle & Byrne to create Maxwell Hodge but in 2007 partners Mark Robinson, Gordon Hatton and Judith Bond separated the Southport & Ainsdale offices away from Maxwell Hodge to form the current firm of Hodge Halsall LLP. After working for the firm for over 10 years, Paul Leadsom became a partner in 2013.
Now offering a broad range of legal services to both commercial organisations and individuals from all over the country, Hodge Halsall remains as committed to its roots in Southport as the Hodge brothers were back in the days when they established the firm.