Ex-Prime Minister’s law firm, in Porthmadog, begins a new era

The law firm founded by the great Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George has entered a new chapter in its illustrious history.

William George and Son, in Porthmadog, has joined forces with one of the other oldest surviving North Wales law firms, Gamlins, which has offices in Bangor and Llandudno.

They say the merger will ensure they can provide the largest and most comprehensive law service in the region, with more penetration into North West Wales and down to Meirioneth.

The new company will be known as Gamlins LLP, incorporating William George and Son.

Gamlins LLP, with a staff of 45 solicitors across 10 offices, can trace its roots back to 1889 in Rhyl.

The historic company of William George and Son began when Lloyd George set up his own practice in the back parlour of his uncle’s house in Criccieth in 1885.

Lloyd George – voted the third greatest Prime Minister of the 20th century – was the architect of the modern welfare state and the last Liberal to do the job.

Although many barristers have been Prime Minister, Lloyd George is the only solicitor and the only Welshman to have held the office.

He is remembered as a man of great energy with an unconventional outlook in character and politics. His scathing quick wit made him a dreaded – but respected – debating opponent in the House of Commons.

While Lloyd George pursued his career in politics, his younger brother William who had joined him in partnership in 1887 looked after the family law firm. Incredibly, William practised law until he died a month short of his 102nd birthday, which earned him a place in the Guinness Book of Records as “the most enduring lawyer ever”. William’s son, Lloyd George’s nephew, William Richard Philip George, joined the firm in 1933 and like his father showed great longevity in the legal profession practising law until his death in 2006, at 94.

W.R.P. George’s son, Philip, who currently runs the family firm, will be a partner in Gamlins LLP inc. William George & Son and will continue to work from the Porthmadog office with support staff  Eirian Jones and Ffion Williams.

Partner in Gamlins LLP, Mark Salisbury, based in Llandudno where he specialises in company, commercial and property law, said: “We are extending our wide spread services to Porthmadog area, operating through Philip George and expanding his existing practice through Gamlins.

“We may be opening other offices in the area as we absorb other firms. We are looking to create opportunities from what are difficult times.”

Bangor-based Gamlins partner Vernon Oliver, who has been with the company since 1987, added: “With this merger we can provide our extensive range of legal services right down to the Porthmadog and Pwllheli areas and south to Merioneth.

As part of the changes, Caernarfon solicitor Kelly Hynes has joined the new company. Believed to be the youngest ever appointed deputy district judge at 29, Kelly, previously of Pritchard Jones Evans and Lane in Caernarfon, will be based at Gamlins LLP Bangor, but will be supporting Philip George in Porthmadog on a weekly basis where she will specialise in family and matrimonial law.

Mr George said: “This merger is a significant and exciting development in the history of William George & Son.

“Not only does it secure the continuation of the business founded some 125 years ago by my great uncle David Lloyd George but it also means the office, through my new colleagues, will be able to provide a far wider range of legal services than it does at present.”

“The new company will be committed to providing personal affordable advice to both private and corporate clients and in addition to dealing with residential and commercial property, wills and probate, the Porthmadog office will now be able to deal with company law, family and divorce matters, litigation, personal injury claims and crime.”

He added: “William George & Son has been based at 103 High Street, Porthmadog since my grandfather and my great uncle bought the premises some 100 years ago -it was then a tavern called the Fox Inn.

“I will continue to work from the office here in Porthmadog and I am delighted that this merger with Gamlins LLP one of the most long established and well respected law firms in North Wales secures the future of William George & Son.”

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