Slaughter and May was founded on 1 January 1889 by two young solicitors, William Capel Slaughter and William May, who met while training together in the City.

From the very beginning we have had a prestigious, international client base and a reputation for excellence. Over the years we have been at the forefront of many significant legal developments and have striven to maintain our position as one of the leading law firms in the world.

While we have evolved, we are proud of our heritage and continue to uphold the principles behind our success.

Key milestones in our history include:

  • 1889 - opening of our first office at 18 Austin Friars
  • 1920s and 1930s - acting for more merchant bank clients than any other law firm (our key clients included Schroders, Barings and Rothschilds)
  • 1940s and 1950s - establishment of departments to handle specific areas of law, while retaining our multi-specialist approach
  • 1974 - opening of our Hong Kong office (we were the first City law firm to establish a presence there)
  • 1980s and 1990s - acting on an extensive number of privatisations including British Airways, British Gas and British Steel
  • 2002 - move to our London Office at One Bunhill Row
  • 2007 - move to our Brussels office with several of our 'Best Friends' at Square de Meeûs
  • 2008 to date - the only law firm to have been involved in almost every aspect of the UK financial crisis (we have been at the centre of measures taken by the Government to support the banking sector)
  • 2009 - opening of our Beijing office
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Our people Our lawyers are among the brightest legal minds in the world - many are leaders in their fields.