Every leading football club with a rich past and glittering trophy cabinet delights in telling its fans about it. Paris Smith LLP is no exception!
The firm has traced its ancestry to 1818 when Certified Attorney Edward Bryant travelled from London to Southampton and set up shop in Castle Lane. At the time there were 8 solicitors in the town, serving a population of 8,000, local villages and the armed forces billeted on the Common. Commerce and population were growing, however, and the town was fast becoming a solid foundation on which to build a practice.
In 1832 Bryant was joined by a Charles Deacon, from Portsmouth, who also held the title of Commissioner for Bankrupts. After Bryant’s death, Deacon took the firm forward, with his son. Messrs Alexander Paris and James Richard (J R) Smith became partners in the mid 1870s and in 1891 Percy Randall completed the trinity of names which the partnership would then bear until 2004.
Throughout the twentieth century the firm continued its close association with the town and (from 1964) City of Southampton; keeping open throughout the great sacrifices of the War years, the General Strike and the Wall Street Crash, slowly growing in stature as they assisted with vital rebuilding projects, the reclamation of the Western Docks, the new port facilities, helping businesses restructure to avoid nationalisation and even providing the world of county and international cricket with one of its partners, the estimable Cecil Paris!
The latter half of the century introduced a much more varied mix to the partnership, with national advertisements being placed, and the firm began to attract talent from across the regions and from the City. Senior Partner Malcolm Le Bas, who was known for insolvency work and whose terms of office spanned the early 1990s recession, later oversaw the development of St Mary’s Stadium, what is now the Ageas Bowl, and the firm’s relationship with the Mayflower Theatre Trust.
In more recent times the firm has expanded greatly, adding a number of new disciplines including banking and asset finance and opening landmark offices at a second site, on Parchment Street, in the heart of Winchester.
As the firm enters its bi-centennial year in 2018 with a complement of over 40 partners and a staff of well over 200, its sporting and cultural traditions remain as strong as ever. Part of this is that we have always had at the core a strong sense of teamship and loyalty, heralded as one of the firm’s major strengths in the face of growing competition. Over its long history the firm has seen and dealt with every manner of adversity and economic difficulty on behalf of its clients, and it is therefore well placed to continue its work in this area through its modern Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency team.