We've been there, done that
Founded in 1785, Tozers has a rich heritage operating in South Devon and, since 1985, in Exeter. Started by 21-year old John Chappell Tozer in Newton Bushell (now part of Newton Abbot), the firm was led by 4 generations of his family, the last being Edward J F Tozer who was a partner for 50 years. Today’s firm ‘branding’ including monoline sketches is a nod to the name Tozer – meaning carder or teaser of wool.
In 1807, JC Tozer set up his plate in the ‘fashionable watering place of Teignmouth’. The Tozer family bought new premises in the town in 1871 and the Orchard Gardens office is still there today. In 1945, Tozers reopened in Newton Abbot, where the office has recently expanded. For well over a century from 1882, the firm had an office in Dawlish, and at various times offered specialist child care and other legal services in Paignton, Torquay and Plymouth.
In the 1850s the firm had dealings with the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and later acted for John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee, the ‘man they couldn’t hang’. Between 1859 and 1938 the family developed close associations with a number of smaller firms and brought in other partners so the Tozer name was linked with others such as Whidborne and Dell, Jordan and Kennaway and Edwards and McMurtrie. But since 1938 when Eddie Tozer died the firm has been known to all as Tozers and it has retained its independence.
Tozers partners have always played their part in the wider legal profession. Its first female partner, Margaret Anstey, was elected the first female president of Devon and Exeter Law Society and in the 1980s was the only woman on the 100-strong Law Society Council. From the 1960s until early 1980s Tozers was an active member of ‘Kitopenel’ – a group of law firms in Devon working together which included Kitsons, Ashfords, and Bond Pearce. This association came to an end shortly before Tozers celebrated its Bicentenary in 1985. In that year, Tozers opened up in Exeter, which for the last 25 years has been its biggest office.
Today the firm has 26 partners and over 165 colleagues working from 3 offices. They are national specialists in chosen sectors and boast a loyal client base from across the South West of England. Supporting a major Harbour Commission and a large charity since the 1850s, appointed national legal advisers to the British Holiday and Home Park Association in 1957, and still providing legal services to (for example) the 4th generation of one South West farming family, Tozers are proud to invest in long-term relationships.