Hill Dickinson

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Hill Dickinson LLP
Hill Dickinson logo.jpg
Headquarters Liverpool
No. of offices 8
No. of employees 1,300+
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Peter Jackson (Managing Partner), David Wareing (Senior Partner)
Revenue £110.1 million turnover (2012) [1]
Date founded 1810 (Liverpool)
Company type Limited liability partnership

Hill Dickinson is an international commercial law firm.[2] With more than 180 partners and 1,300 staff, the firm operates from four UK offices and four overseas.[3]

Hill Dickinson offers a comprehensive range of legal services to organisations and individuals on a national and international basis within a number of market sectors, including marine, trade and energy, insurance, transport and logistics, health, retail, sport and media, financial services, property and construction, professional practices, and education.

In 2013 the firm saw widespread redundancies due to a loss in profits.[4]Their Chester office was also sold to Knights Solicitors.[5]

In 2016 Hill Dickinson was awarded the 'Golden Turd' by popular legal blog website Roll On Friday, as the firm placed last in their Firm of the Year survey. Roll On Friday's survey respondants cited several years of ongoing cuts, widespread redundancies and complaints from staff over the cost of their Liverpool offices as their reasons for the low survey scores.[6]


Hill Dickinson's origins can be traced back to 1810, with the establishment of a Liverpool legal practice by the firm’s founder, Edward Morrall. The firm’s identity as ‘Hill Dickinson’ began to emerge when John Edward Gray Hill joined the firm in 1865. John Dickinson (1847-1907) became a partner in 1872, with the firm named 'Duncan, Hill & Dickinson'. The firm established itself as a leading maritime law firm, and went on to represent the White Star Line in connection with the sinking of the RMS Titanic [7] and Cunard Line in respect of the sinking of RMS Lusitania [8] which was torpedoed by a German U-boat on 7 May 1915.

In 1927 Miss Edith Berthen joined the firm as one of the first women in England and Wales to qualify as a solicitor.[9] In the Black Solicitors Network’s Diversity League Table 2009 Hill Dickinson was ranked 30th within the top 100 UK law firms.[10] In January 2010, the firm was ranked as the sixth most female friendly firm (among the top 50 UK firms by turnover) with 27 per cent of its partnership made up of women.[11] In 1931 one of the firm's solicitors, Hector Munro, represented William Herbert Wallace in connection with his trial and subsequent appeal against his conviction for the murder of his wife Julia in their home in Wolverton Street in Liverpool's Anfield district. His conviction was later overturned by the Court Of Criminal Appeal, the first instance in British legal history where an appeal had been allowed after re-examination of evidence (see R v Wallace).

Partner William Goffey (known as WG) started his career in 1901 at Hill Dickinson's 10 Water Street office. He became senior partner in 1950 and continued to practice until shortly before his death in 1979 at the age of 94. As the son of a ship owning family who operated sailing barques from Liverpool under the name Goffey & Co, much of his practice was Admiralty and related work.

Goffey acted for Cunard Steam Ship Co. Limited in relation to the 1942 collision between the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary and HMS Curacoa (D41) which resulted in the sinking of the latter with great loss of life. on 2 October 1942 both ships were following evasive zigzagging courses about 60 km north of the coast of Ireland when the Queen Mary cut across the path of HMS Curacoa with insufficient clearance, striking her amidships at a speed of 28 knots and cutting her in two. The Curacoa sank immediately, about 100 yards from the Queen Mary. The loss was not reported until after the war ended, whereupon the Navy immediately pressed charges against the Queen Mary's owners, Cunard. The High Court of Justice subsequently ruled mostly in favour of the latter, giving two-thirds of the blame to the Admiralty and one third to Cunard. This ruling would become important in the civil lawsuits subsequently filed against Cunard by relatives of the HMS Curacoa deceased. It also prompted significant revisions in Navy policy, including the suspension of escorts for passenger liners.

Mergers and acquisitions[edit]

  • DLA Manchester and Sheffield insurance practice (2013)
  • Halliwells LLP, Liverpool and Sheffield offices (2010)
  • Middleton Potts (2009)
  • Gamon Arden & Co. (2007)
  • Hill Taylor Dickinson, remerger following demerger in 1989 (2006)
  • Bullivant Jones & Co. (2004)
  • Gorna & Co (2001)
  • Davis Campbell (1997)
  • Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP - On 31 January 2016, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP ceased to operate as a law firm. Partners and key staff have joined other firms including Hill Dickinson (2016)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]