Over 125 years of Lawrence & Wightman

John Lawrence, who was just 21 years old at the time, started his practice way back in 1896. Not long after setting up offices in Temple Street, Birmingham, Elliott Wightman joined John and Lawrence & Wightman was formed.

The two flourished until Elliott was called up for army service in the middle of the First World War. By the end of the War, John decided to retire from the partnership, leaving Elliott as the sole principal.

Fred Perry (not the tennis player) joined as an article pupil in 1930—at this point Lawrence & Wightman was renowned as the leading dairy agent for the sale of goodwill milk rounds, property management, as well as being auctioneers of real property and chattels. After his stint in the air force between 1939 and 1945, Fred Perry re-joined the firm to become a junior partner.

In 1950, Elliott Wightman passed away leaving Fred as the sole principal up until Edward Rutledge took over in 1979, who was subsequently joined by Richard Pee in 1986. By this stage, Lawrence & Wightman had evolved into a general practice firm, providing clients with advice on all aspects of commercial and residential property.

Keith Chew joined the practice and became a partner in 1986 followed shortly by Michael Mitchell, who merged with Lawrence & Wightman in 1989. In 1997, Philip Foster became a consultant to the practice and continued his agency role with the firm until his retirement in 2011.

In 2003, the partnership moved to Swan Courtyard. Michael Cannon joined as partner in 2007, adding to the firm’s specialism in leasehold enfranchisement matters. Sarah Abel re-joined the firm as partner in 2012—coming back to the practice that she learnt her trade in.

In 2022, both Keith Chew and Michael Cannon retired from the business, leaving Sarah Abel as Sole Principal of Lawrence & Wightman. Sarah now solely specialises in Leasehold Enfranchisement and hopes that she can use her extensive knowledge and experience to enable leaseholders to get a better deal from their freeholders.