Wolferstans has been established since 1812 when Samuel Kelly, an Attorney at Law, commenced practice at The Barbican, Plymouth. By 1836 his sons, J & W Kelly, were partners. John Kelly became Justice of the Peace, Mayor and Alderman, in addition being a Master Extra in Chancery, Secretary of Sutton Harbour Improvement Company and the local Marine Board.
In 1873 Thomas Wolferstan joined the firm which became Kelly & Wolferstan. Following the death of Kelly, Harold Wolferstan joined his brother to practise under the style of T & H Wolferstan, having also acquired the practice of Mr C L Radcliffe. A nephew, Henry Elliot Turner M.C., became a partner in 1919. There was an amalgamation in 1923 with Lt Col P Skinner Snell of Snell & Holman, when the practice was styled Wolferstan, Snell & Turner. The Blitz saw the end of the premises in Princess Square and, following various moves, the offices at Deptford Chambers were built in 1970. In 1965 David Gabbitass became a partner and soon afterwards the Devonport practice Broad & Spencer was acquired. Continued expansion over the years has necessitated the acquisition of several adjacent premises and in 1998 an additional floor with mansard roof was built on the top of Deptford Chambers.
In May 1992 Wolferstans merged with the Plymouth firm of Rundle McDonald & Rendle which traced its origins to the Devonport firm of Beer & Rundle founded in 1840.
In November 1997 spacious offices were opened in Taunton to deal with personal injury and medical negligence work and in 1998 the Exeter law firm of McKenzies merged with Wolferstans and a specialist unit dealing with motorcyclists’ accident injury claims was incorporated into the Firm’s personal injury department.
In February 2001 the Addison Road offices were closed and the Family office relocated to refurbished premises at 66 North Hill. In April 2001 Paul Woods succeeded David Gabbitass as Senior Partner.
In 1994 Wolferstans was one of the first firms to be granted a Legal Aid Franchise and was awarded franchises in Crime, Personal Injuries, Clinical Negligence, Matrimonial and Family Law, and Mental Health.
Between 2002 and 2005 the Firm followed through a programme to introduce a variety of efficiency and client service improvements and consolidated business in its North Hill and Plymstock offices.
During 2012, Wolferstans celebrated its 200 year history by pledging to raise at least £2012 each month for six local charities. Project 2012 was a huge success; the fundraising events included all manner of sports (running half marathons, rowing, walking, horse riding and cycling), baking and even ironing. The Project exceeded all expectations resulting in the firm having the pleasure of distributing over £34,600 to Children’s Happy Hospital Fund, Headway Plymouth, Jeremiah’s Journey, St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, Age UK Plymouth and Shekinah Mission.
Today, Wolferstans is one of the best known and largest legal firms in Plymouth, offering a wide range of legal services for private individuals and for businesses.