Ruth Mitchell

10th-gen firm celebrates move

A Tyneside-based legal firm which holds the record as the country’s oldest practice still in family hands marks the start of 2008 with a move into new headquarters. Gibson and Company’s new address puts it on Newcastle’s West Road after three hundred years of business.

The firm’s founder Jasper Gibson opened his first office in Hexham early in the eighteenth century. A will drafted by him in April 1715 has been framed as one of his firm’s oldest documents and now has pride of place in the foyer of the new headquarters.

Experts say that it’s unusual for any family law firm to survive beyond the third generation.

The firm has also added a third aspect to its specialisations. As well as conveyancing and tax planning, Gibson’s will now be building their commercial litigation department.

Gibson’s claim that a North East base gives them the advantage of a London standard of service without the high overheads of City-based law firms. The firm’s new operations will focus of mediation over courtroom disputes.

Toby Gibson, the tenth and latest generation of family partners, said: “There is a steady stream of cases, which demonstrate the need for careful drafting of contracts and a clear mutual understanding between the parties as to what has actually been agreed. “Even the slightest error or oversight can lead to the unsuccessful party paying a heavy penalty.”

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