2015 marks 80 years since Hugh Gordon and William Slater founded Slater and Gordon Lawyers. Find out 8 things you might not know about us, and the clients we've represented.
1. We’re a proud Australian-owned firm that has been around for 80 years.
The firm was founded in 1935 by brothers-in-law William Slater and Hugh Gordon. They operated Slater and Gordon from a small room in the Australian Railway Union’s building on Bourke Street in Melbourne, focusing on workplace entitlements and claims. Today, the firm has more than 1,300 staff in 83 locations in Australia, and 1,300 staff in 18 locations in the UK.
2. Our founders have served our country in politics and in wartime.
William Slater was Victoria’s Attorney-General, twice, and introduced legislation to improve the rights of working Victorians including payments for medical expenses, occupational diseases and journey claims to work. He also served as a field ambulance in World War I.
Hugh Gordon enlisted in the 4th Battalion Victorian Rifles and a year later he re-enlisted in the RAAF as a navigator in World War II. On his crew's 13th mission his Lancaster was shot down near Limburg, Holland on 15th June 1943. Hugh Gordon was just 34 years old when he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
3. We have a proud history of women in senior roles
In 1981 Slater and Gordon appointed its first female partner, Jennifer Lush, who had been a solicitor at the firm since 1972. The firm began offering articled clerkships to women in 1942. Today, more than 70% of our staff and 55% of our executive are women.
4. Slater and Gordon’s lawyers conducted many Australian ‘first’ litigation cases on behalf of brave clients:
- Asbestos claims in Western Australia
- Breast implant claims on behalf of more than 3000 women
- Food contamination claims on behalf of hundreds of people who consumed contaminated peanut butter
- Thalidomide class action for more than 100 Australian and New Zealanders
- HIV/AIDS common law case from contaminated blood transfusion
Advertising restrictions prevent us going in to more detail about these cases.
5. Slater and Gordon was the first legal firm in the world to list on a stock exchange
The firm took the bold move to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) after ownership laws changed to allow people other than lawyers to own a law firm.
6. Slater and Gordon introduced the revolutionary No Win No Fee legal fee structure
This innovative fee structure means that more people have been able to access justice, regardless of their financial circumstances.
7. The firm was involved in the James Hardie Commission of Inquiry
Slater and Gordon acted pro-bono for the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the union movement and asbestos support groups in the James Hardie Commission of Inquiry, which lead to the establishment of a compensation fund for asbestos sufferers.
8. Philanthropic fund focussing on care and treatment
In 2014 the firm expanded on its existing philanthropic efforts and announced the Health Projects and Research Fund to improve the wellbeing of people needing care and treatment. The $2 million fund addresses disadvantage in our community and is contributed to by staff at the firm.
Thank you to our many clients for allowing us to work on their cases over the years. We look forward to providing more legal services to everyday people over the years to come.
More information about our history can be found here.