The firm was established in 1882 by Harold James, who operated as a sole practitioner until after the First World War. Records show the firm representing its first Union client, the Farriers and Blacksmiths, in 1906 and relations with the Trade Union movement have grown from strength to strength thereafter. Harold’s daughter, Kathleen, married David Morrish, who had a brother, Eric Morrish, both Great War veterans. Eric trained with Harold James and qualified circa 1920, at which time the firm became HB James & Morrish.
Harold James retired from practice and Eric Morrish took over the firm. A younger partner, Clarence Nelson, joined the practice and the firm became Morrish, Nelson & Co until after WWII. Eric Morrish became Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds on two separate occasions.
In 1946, Eric Morrish welcomed two younger partners, Leonard Skirrow and Priestley Kirby, when the firm became Morrish & Co and in the 1950s Fred Saville also became a partner. The firm incorporated other practices, Pullan Davies & Co and Wade, Kitson & Rigg, which had offices in Yeadon and Leeds. Fred Saville left the firm to become Registrar at the court. Eric’s son, John Morrish, joined the firm in the late 1940s and later became a Chairman of Industrial Tribunals in Leeds. In the meantime, Eric’s other son, Richard Morrish, started with the firm, to be joined later by Ian Skirrow (Leonard Skirrow’s son) and John Foster, who left to become a district judge in Rotherham.
During his time as Senior Partner, Leonard Skirrow was aware of significant changes taking place in the legal profession. With help from the firm’s litigation executive, Jack Saxton, the practice was transformed to become a major litigation practice in Leeds, at the same time as maintaining its traditional property and family ties.
The next young trainee to join the firm was Tim Harris, who is now a Consultant. The firm continued to flourish and to strengthen ties with the Trade Unions following the appointment of today’s Senior Partner Paul Scholey and Martin Bare.
Richard Morrish’s son, Tom Morrish, now maintains the family connection, as the Partner responsible for the Yeadon office. Like his forebears, Tom remains active in the greater Leeds community.
The firm grew further in 2006, incorporating a leading Pudsey practice, Lindley Clough.
Martin Bare served as the President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers from 2005 – 2007. He is now a Fellow of APIL.
In 2009 the firm evolved into Morrish Solicitors LLP and opened a new branch in Bradford, strengthening ties and commitment to the local community.