The Lawyer UK 200 Rank60

The original Lewis Silkin was the Labour Member of Parliament for Peckham, and Minister of Town and Country Planning in the Atlee post-War government. The firm that bears his name was actually established by his son John, with Lewis (by now Baron Silkin) joining full-time once his Parliamentary duties were scaled back. Originally a Peckham high-street practice, a second office in Westminster opened soon after. All of the first three senior partners, Lewis and John Silkin and John Fraser, served

The original Lewis Silkin was the Labour Member of Parliament for Peckham, and Minister of Town and Country Planning in the Atlee post-War government. The firm that bears his name was actually established by his son John, with Lewis (by now Baron Silkin) joining full-time once his Parliamentary duties were scaled back. Originally a Peckham high-street practice, a second office in Westminster opened soon after.

All of the first three senior partners, Lewis and John Silkin and John Fraser, served in Labour governments, and the firm of today still owes a lot to those left-wing roots. As befits a firm led by a former housing minister, property work, especially social housing, remains one of its three key areas of expertise. Employment work is another of its main strengths.

The third key area of expertise can be traced to the firm’s fourth senior partner, Roger Alexander, who is a significant figure in LS’s history, having spent 50 years there from 1960 to 2010. It was Alexander who won Mike Gold, the founder of ad agency French Gold Abbott, as a client. That relationship sparked a practice acting for advertising agencies which has blossomed in to one covering the entire media sector.

Lewis Silkin made its own bit of ad history in the late 1980s when The Law Society relaxed its ban on solicitors advertising their services. It became the first English firm ever to run a marketing campaign – a billboard ad that ran in London, at universities, and at The Law Society’s conference in Cardiff. The poster showed a formidable building with high security fences and a sign saying ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted,’ The tagline was ‘Not Necessarily.’

The firm has gone through a series of rebrands in recent years (a late 2000s redubbing of its property, employment and media strands as ‘Landscape’, ‘Peoplescape’ and ‘Mediascape’ didn’t stick). Its most recent look sees the firm with multicoloured livery and pitching itself as “lawyers for creative, innovative and brand-focused businesses.” Since the 1990s the firm has shifted from the West End to Chancery Lane. It has also expanded out of London and now has offices in Oxford, Cardiff, Hong Kong and, since 2017, Dublin.

Lewis Silkin’s leadership teams 1950 to present

Managing partner Senior partner
1950 Lewis Silkin
1972 John Silkin
1986 Andi Thomas (role created) John Fraser
1990 Roger Alexander
2000 Trevor Watkins Roger Alexander
2005 Ian Jeffery
2010 Michael Burd
CEO Chair
2016 Ian Jeffery Michael Burd