*limited liability partnership
“Lewis Silkin had three sons: Arthur, Sam and John. During the period 1974-79, both John and Sam served in the Cabinet at the same time (something since only emulated by the Miliband brothers).
John Silkin qualified as a solicitor in 1950 and set up his own practice at 227-229 Rye Lane Peckham as Lewis Silkin and Partners.
When John Silkin opened the office in Peckham, it took 18 months to get the GPO to install a telephone, and so the public telephone booth across the road was put into service for client calls. It is said that John Silkin used to send his secretary across the road to pretend to make a call; once a client call came through John’s secretary signalled to John through the window to come over to the phone box and take the call! He started the office with no clients. For the first two weeks, his secretary typed and retyped John and Rosamund Silkin’s wills for typing practice.
John Silkin won a by-election for the Labour seat of Deptford in 1963 and in 1966 became Chief Whip in Harold Wilson’s Government with a majority of 4. He was elected to the Privy Council in 1966. He served as a Government Chief Whip (1966-1969) and as the deputy leader of the House of Commons (1968-1969). He was appointed as the Minister of Public Buildings and Works (1969-1970) and the Minister for Planning and Local Government in the Department for the Environment (1974-1976). He served as the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1976-1979).
Lewis Silkin passed away on 11 May 1972 at the age of 82.
On 28 February 1974, two of the firm’s then five partners joined Harold Wilson’s minority Government. John Silkin became Minister of Agriculture.
For a time during the 1980’s John Silkin’s son Rory and his daughter-in-law Mary were also part of the family firm. In 1986 it was agreed that John Silkin’s interest in the partnership would be bought out by his partners. John subsequently set up a consultancy with his brother Sam and called it Silkin Brothers. John passed away in 1987.
In 1992 the firm of Hancock and Willis merged with Lewis Silkin.
In April 2006 the firm became an LLP and a month later moved to 5 Chancery Lane, its current home.”