History of the firm

The firm can trace its history back to 1984 when Brian Southern & Co was established as a sole practitioner based in offices in Felling. Ian Stewart joined with Brian in 1986 to establish the firm of Southern & Stewart operating from Felling and Prince Edward Road, South Shields offices.

The firm subsequently merged with Walker & Co in February 1995 bringing Frances Walker into the partnership and this allowed the firm to operate from three offices including the Beach Road, South Shields premises. Brian sadly died in June 1997 and shortly thereafter in September 1997 the firm merged with Small Hindson, which brought Geoff Hindson and Richard Small into the practice. The latter retired in 2002 and as a result the Felling Office was closed. Frances Walker retired from the Partnership in December 2004 and continued as a Practising Consultant until her retirement in January 2011.

Ian Stewart retired from the Partnership in May 2012 and John Langers became an Equity Partner at the same time. The firm has always been committed to legal aid and we obtained a Franchise in 1999 and Crime and Family contracts in 2000 – the firm withdrew from Crime work in 2006. We became Lexcel Accredited in April 2012 and achieved Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation in July 2012. John Langers left the partnership in February 2014. Nina James was appointed to the partnership in February 2014.

The firm currently operates from two offices within South Shields namely 15 Beach Road (the main office) and 157 Prince Edward Road.

Business Aims

The firm has a strong commitment to client service, a commitment to using the legal system to defend and protect clients’ legal rights and a wish to offer access to justice to all seeking the firm’s services. To this end the firm will continue to strive to provide the best in legal advice, assistance and advocacy for those having recourse to the law. The firm endeavours to undertake all case work with high standards of client care and a commitment to protecting client’s rights whilst consolidating a reputation of client and professional respect for the firm and its work.

Services to be delivered

Our core services are as follows:

  • Residential and Commercial Property: We deal with both residential conveyancing and commercial property transactions, including where appropriate transfers/leases of existing businesses.
  • Family and Divorce: We deal with Divorce, separation and cohabitation issues together with Private Children Law and Public Children Law matters.
  • Wills, Probate and Elderly client including Court of Protection: We have always dealt with the provision of Will writing services to our clients as well as dealing with Probate issues following death. We also assist clients in the creation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship appointments.
  • Business Affairs: This includes providing advice and assistance to clients on business set up and eventual sale or transfer of their business.
  • Personal Injury: We deal with a wide range of Personal Injury cases.

Client Groups to be served

Our main client groups include:

  • Clients in receipt of low income and/or benefits
  • Elderly clients
  • Local businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Clients suffering from injury
  • Local property investors and developers
  • Home buyers and sellers
  • Clients with family issues and cohabitation issues

The firm is able to offer legally aided services at both offices by virtue of a Family contract with the Legal Aid Agency.