Andrew Watson, Managing Partner of leading Kent Law Firm Girlings Solicitors LLP, is retiring on 31 March 2023 following a 26-year spell as the Firm’s Managing Partner and having spent his entire career, spanning almost 40 years, with the Firm.
Andrew joined Girlings as an Articled Clerk in June 1984, qualified as a Solicitor in 1986, became a Salaried Partner in 1989, and an Equity Partner in 1990. He succeeded Tony Girling as Managing Partner in 1997 aged just 36.
Girlings traces its origins back to Margate in 1881, and now has offices in Canterbury, Ashford, and Herne Bay. During his tenure as Managing Partner Andrew oversaw the successful evolution of the Firm away from its roots as a multi-office High Street practice to a highly regarded full-service practice offering a mix of business law and private client services.
Andrew combined his role as Managing Partner with a successful litigation practice. His particular focus is contentious probate work where he is recognised as an expert in the field. His combination of skill and old school courtesy have earned him the respect, affection, and admiration of colleagues and opponents alike.
He has acted for clients in several noteworthy and reported cases, including Hogg v Dover College (an employment case), Wood v Smith (a case on the validity of a Will), and Paine v Catlins (an insurance case arising from a hotel fire).
Beyond his work with the Firm, Andrew’s passion for cars, boats, and his expanding family have provided welcome balance to the rigours of legal practice.
Andrew is succeeded by Lesley Rushton, who becomes the first female Managing Partner in the Firm’s history. Other management changes include the appointment of Carl Vincent as the Firm’s Chairman and the promotion of Charlotte Nock and Chris Brightling to the Firm’s Management Board.
Lesley Rushton said: “While Andrew will be greatly missed, he will be able to enjoy his retirement knowing that his achievements have laid down a strong legacy upon which the Firm will continue to build. We are immensely grateful for Andrew’s service and dedication to the Firm.”