JWK Solicitors are the merged firms of Jobling & Knape, established in 1934, and Whiteside and Knowles Limited, established in 1888 and are now part of Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors. A national law firm with offices in 11 locations throughout England and Wales including JWK’s offices in Lancaster, Morecambe and Southport.
The partners of Jobling & Knape were delighted to merge in 2012 with the well-known firm of Whiteside & Knowles, a practice even older than Jobling & Knape and with whom Jobling & Knape has enjoyed a long and friendly relationship.
A History of Jobling & Knape
The partnership of Jobling & Knape started over 75 years ago in the East Lancashire town of Burnley. In 1934, George Jobling, his brother and John Knape decided that it was time to branch out and in 1934 took the historic step of founding what was to become the head office of the firm in Northumberland Street, Morecambe.
John Knape senior did the groundwork and was soon accompanied by the Jobling brothers to establish Jobling, Jobling & Knape.
Inevitably the war years played their part and John Knape senior became an RAF officer based at the historic Art Deco hotel, the Midland, just half a mile away from the office.
The firm has a history of its solicitors starting with it as articled clerks (apprentices) and progressing through the firm to partnership level. This applied to several local luminaries including Charles Altham, Frank McHugh, Ronald Hampson, Michael Woods, Colin Wright, Michael Easthope, John and Stuart Knape.
The firm also witnessed the start of several other careers in the law, including Mike Winkley who having served his articles with Jobling & Knape went on to co-found the Kendal firm Hayton Winkley, and perhaps even more notably, the eminent retired Judge, Sir Christopher Rose, former Vice-President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal and current Chief Surveillance Commissioner, was also articled at the firm.
The ultimate partners, David Harrison, Peter Bujakowski, Ian Gee and Craig Hollingdrake all served their articles at Jobling & Knape rising through the firm in this same way. David Harrison and David Hardy are now Ambassadors for JWK Solicitors, having respectively retired from practising in June 2013 and September 2017. Peter Bujakowski retired as a Director and from practice in August 2018.
In the early 1980’s the firm opened a branch office in Great Eccleston and then acquired the practice which Stuart Knape had founded, instantly acquiring three other branches in Lancaster, Carnforth and Heysham.
The firm has steadily expanded over the years and now occupies, as JWK Legal Group Limited, large prestigious bespoke offices at Aalborg Square, Lancaster.
In line with trends within the legal profession, the individuals in the firm have developed their own areas of work resulting in the overall expansion of the firm.
Ian Gee heads a large Personal Injury department and has carved out for himself a niche practice in Aviation Law. He is listed in the Legal 500.
Craig Hollingdrake has a wealth of experience in heavyweight Litigation and is one of the few practitioners in the local area skilled in Intellectual Property Law.
The strengths and qualities of both firms dovetail perfectly to bring the highest level of service both to the local community and on a national basis, serving from their offices in Lancaster and Morecambe not only the residents of those two towns but clients nationwide.
A History of Whiteside and Knowles
The practice of Whiteside and Knowles dates back to 1888. The founding partners Mr. Henry Whiteside and Mr. Henry Knowles were Morecambe born and bred and interestingly they were both followed by the next generation. In the case of Mr. Whiteside his son Cyril and in the case of Mr. Knowles his two sons Kenneth and Geoffrey.
Cyril, Kenneth and Geoffrey were all partners in the firm as was a childhood friend Lees Fearn. The practice carried out predominantly property and probate law but litigation work featured increasingly as time passed.
The 70s and 80s witnessed a changing of the guard with older partners retiring and new partners joining. Tony Collinson was admitted to the partnership in 1975 and Charles Wilson in 1982. At that time the firm started to build on its solid foundations. Tony Collinson had a number of large commercial clients, as well as building up a niche practice relating to agriculture and rural issues for which he is now recommended in the Legal 500, and Wills, Trusts and Property issues for high net worth clients. Tony was also a long standing Secretary of Lancaster Morecambe and District Law Society, which experience led him in due course to sit on the Executive Committee of the Private Client Section of The Law Society.
Charles Wilson expanded the firm’s litigation base with his expertise in Family Law so that the firm held a Legal Aid Franchise for family work for a number of years. He trained as a Mediator and a Collaborative Lawyer and is a member of The Law Society Family Panel. As well as Family Law, Charles has also practised in Property, Wills, Trusts and Probate Work.
Philip George joined the practice in the 1980s and specialised in civil disputes including personal injury work and employment issues. Philip acquired a reputation for taking on difficult or unusual cases including disputes in equestrian law. He retired from directorship in June 2013 and took up a non practising ambassadorial role with JWK Solicitors.
The firm incorporated from 1st January 2005 in recognition of the changes that were starting to take place in the legal sector. Zebra Financial Services Limited was also formed to enable clients to receive advice in relation to financial issues.
Whiteside and Knowles was a very well-known local practice having partners/directors who lived locally and involved themselves in local events. The directors often gave freely of their time on a pro bono basis and also sponsored local events which they considered to be worthy of support.
Following the merger, the Whiteside and Knowles office at 7 Skipton Street, Morecambe has been retained and that office now deals with residential conveyancing work, family work, agriculture and private client work including Wills, Attorneys, Trusts and Probates.
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- Meet the team
- JWK Sponsorships
- Diversity and Equality Survey 2017
- Diversity and Equality Survey 2015
- Diversity and Equality Survey 2013
- Three Peaks Challenge 2015
- JWK Solicitors, part of Simpson Millar
Clare started work at JWK Solicitors in 2004, after completing her LLB at Oxford Brookes University and her LPC at Nottingham Law School. She works within the Commercial... Read more
After gaining an honours degree in Business Law, Ian Gee joined Jobling & Knape and qualified in 1979. Jobling & Knape was established by his grandfather John... Read more
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