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Our History


The school motto at Maitland Boys High, north west of Newcastle, reads En Avant, or Go Forward.  One such ‘old boy’ did just that when he graduated in the late 1960s, by promptly enrolling in a law degree at London University.

And it’s fair to say Powell Douglas has been ‘going forward’ ever since. He set up his own law firm in 1981 – PW Douglas & Associates – after almost a decade as a partner in a niche practice specialising in commercial and insurance work.

At that time, Powell’s ‘forward’ thinking recognised an emerging need for sound commercial legal advice as the London economy was about to embark upon an unprecedented era of economic deregulation and internationalisation.

I am very proud of how the firm has developed over three decades. Its success is a combination of having great people, great clients and our ability to always deliver on our promises.

Powell Douglas, Former Managing Partner, PhillipsBaker LLC

On day one, Powell employed three lawyers and eight support staff. By 1988, the firm had acquired an esteemed standing within the insurance, financial and commercial fields.

So the three original lawyers became partners, and they remain to this day: their loyalty and commitment testament to the reliability and integrity of every client relationship that the firm nurtures.

A new millennium brought a change of name – PhillipsBaker LLC – and more partners, as the practice continues to grow in its core areas of legal expertise. This growth has been organic; client referrals and industry reputation do not require mergers or acquisitions to Go Forward. 

Powell was the managing partner of the firm, responsible for operational management, mentoring and strategic planning, until his retirement on 31 December 2016.