History of Field Fisher Waterhouse
The history of the firm can be traced back almost two centuries
and its structure has changed significantly in that time. The main
mergers, which created the firm in its current form, happened
within living memory. Many of the partners and staff who originally
started with one of the legacy firms, which went on to form Field
Fisher Waterhouse, are still working for the firm.
Field Fisher Waterhouse was created in 1989 following the merger
of Waterhouse & Co and Field Fisher Martineau. Both firms moved
from their original offices and came together to the Vine Street
premises in London in June 1990.
Waterhouse & Co was originally located near St Paul's
Cathedral and in 1971 there were just nine partners. At this time
all law firms were fairly small as up until 1968 law firms were not
permitted to have more than twenty partners.
Shell was a key client of Waterhouse & Co at the time and
the firm worked on all Shell’s real estate deals, in particular its
move to the Shell building in the 1950s. It was the firm’s
relationship with Shell which led to the development of the
following a recommendation by Shell to Mitsubishi Bank.
Field Fisher Martineau was located at Lincoln’s Inn House in
Holborn, close to Red Lion Square, a very convenient location for
the law courts. In 1990, the firm moved to Minories in Aldgate.
The last major addition to the firm took place in 1998 when
Allison & Humphreys (A&H) merged with Field Fisher
A&H was a leading media and communications specialist and
therefore complemented Field Fisher Waterhouse’s technology
expertise. The BBC was one of the key clients that A&H lawyers
brought with them to the firm.
In June 2006 Field Fisher Waterhouse converted to LLP status. In
2007 the firm took its first steps in to Europe. In April 2007
offices were set up in Brussels and Hamburg and the shortly after
in November 2007 an office in Paris was established. The firm has
since gone from strength to strength hiring over 40 laterals in the
last three years. In 2011 there was the opening of thenew
German office in Munich and in 2012 the Palo Alto office was
set up. The last major appointments were in March 2013, when
Matthew Lohn was appointed as the Senior Partner and Michael
Chissick was appointed to take up the post of Managing
In September 2012 an office in Silicon Valley, the heart of the
world's high tech industry, Palo Alto, California was set up.
Some interesting facts about Field Fisher
Waterhouse (and its predecessor firms)
- One partner was the UK’s leading copyright lawyer, acting for
Joseph Conrad, Arnold Bennett and Rudyard Kipling.
- Theodore Waterhouse’s younger brother set up Price
- A Zeppelin bomb landed on the firm’s offices in 1916 - but did
- The Martineaus (as in Field Fisher Martineau) were active in
campaigning to abolish slavery and collaborated with Florence
Nightingale on health care.
- The firm used to organise the opera season at Covent Garden
from its offices.
- One partner rowed for Oxford in the boat race and won.
- The Martineau family owned a sugar refinery and set up long
term supply arrangements with Whitbread for both sugar (for its
alcohol) and its legal advice.
- The CBI (then the FBI) was set up by a partner of the
- Philip Martineau’s sister was the 19th century’s leading female
political economist and a close friend of Carlyle.
- Theodore Waterhouse’s older brother designed the Natural
History Museum and Prudential building.
- There used to be offices in Brixton, Kilburn, Victoria,
Brussels, Edgware and Golders Green.
- At least two members of the firm have been knighted.
- The Waterhouse canteen had its origins during the blitz when
the telephonist installed a gas ring in the telephone room and fed
all the staff.
- The NAAFI was set up by a partner during
the first world war.