Our History

The firm had its origins in the 1920s in Wellington when Reginald Hardie Boys set up practice on his own account, only 2 months past his 21st birthday.  Starting with a rented room upstairs in Panama Street, and no established client base, he eventually moved the practice to the T. & G. Building on the corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Street, where it remained for many years.

The first new partner brought into the firm was Alexander McCredie (Max) Haldane, and the firm became Hardie Boys & Haldane until the outbreak of World War II.  Both Hardie Boys and Haldane volunteered for war service and a sole practitioner, R R (Bob) Scott, was asked to look after the practice while the war lasted.  In 1945 the three combined to form the firm of Hardie Boys, Scott and Haldane and the firm prospered, acting for many large clients including Dominion Breweries.

In the early 1950's Reginald's son, a young solicitor named Michael Hardie Boys, was asked to join the firm.  Max Haldane died suddenly in 1955.  Shortly after, Michael's very good friend, John Bentley Morrison, joined the partnership on 1 April 1957 and the firm became Hardie Boys, Scott & Morrison.

Reginald Hardie Boys left the partnership when he was appointed a QC (later to become a Judge) and the firm name was rearranged to read "Scott, Hardie Boys Morrison".  There followed several high-profile additions to the firm, including in 1965 Andrew McGechan (later the Hon Andrew McGechan, High Court Judge) and John Jeffries (later Sir John) in 1968.  The firm became Scott, Hardie Boys, Morrison & Jeffries and moved to its present location at 105-109 The Terrace, Wellington, upon the opening of the (then) brand new Challenge House.

The 1970s saw other illustrious lawyers join the firm, including Michael Reed, Gary Weiss, John Harkness and Richard Peterson.  Both John Jeffries and Andrew McGechan left the firm in 1976, Jeffries to the (then) Supreme Court, and McGechan to practice as a barrister sole (although he too would later be appointed a Judge).  Michael Hardie Boys followed his father's path and was appointed to the High Court in 1982.  He would later be appointed Governor-General.  Further changes in firm name resulted from these departures. 

In January 1981 a major merger occurred when the partners and staff of Bell Dunphy & Co, led by the extremely effective and indomitable Malcolm Dunphy, moved to The Terrace offices.  The firm was renamed Scott, Morrison, Dunphy & Co.

The 1980s saw a scramble of law firms merging in order to increase size and national prominence.  It was also considered advisable to have a presence in the Auckland market.  The Wellington partners identified a couple of Auckland firms (McElroy Milne and Morpeth Gould) as potential suitors, and the merger took place in 1988.  While the resulting firm of McElroy Morrison lasted only 18 months, it provided the basis of a lasting presence in Auckland, which continues to this day in the firm's Shortland Street premises.

A final merger with the long-standing Auckland firm of Earl Kent in 1996 resulted in the present firm name of Morrison Kent. 

Throughout the last 85 years the firm has sought to maintain excellent standards of legal advice while looking after the best interests of our clients.  When long-standing partner John Morrison passed away in July 2012 it was noted that the firm continued to aspire to practice law as he did, with dedication, diligence and with a true commitment to service.


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