HISTORY OF CANTER LEVIN & BERG SOLICITORS

Find out about the history of Canter Levin & Berg, one of the leading firms of solicitors in Merseyside for over 70 years. Our story starts with one of the judges at the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War and records our service to the people of Liverpool, Merseyside and beyond, including associations with the development of personal injury law, creation of the constitution for the first workers’ co-operative (which is displayed in the Houses of Parliament), associations with Tony Benn and prime minister Harold Wilson, high profile trials and our continuing support for people who are looking for affordable access to legal services.

Mr Myer Canter (known as “MJ”) was an intermediate judge at the Nuremberg Trials and was a close friend of the then Attorney General and chief Nuremberg prosecutor, Lord Shawcross, who subsequently became a lecturer in law at Liverpool University from 1953 to 1973.

MJ set up his practice at 15 Victoria Street in Liverpool City Centre in 1947. At this time the firm specialised in litigation and conveyancing. After a few years, MJ merged the practice with Ian Levin and Milton Mannheim and the firm was then known as Canter Levin & Mannheim. Mr Mannheim stood as a Labour candidate in Wavertree in the 1952 Liverpool City Council elections. He died in February 2002 after a lengthy illness. Ian also stood as a Labour candidate in the 1957 Liverpool Garston by-election. The merged practice operated from separate addresses until moving into Temple Court in Victoria Street in 1957 which was the location of the firm until 1985.

In 1961, Ian Levin’s brother Harry joined the firm as a partner. He became a leading industrial law specialist and was well known for his work in connection with dock accidents. He was affectionately known as “the dockers’ lawyer”.

In 1967, Alan Berg (“AB”) joined as a partner. He was a successful and highly respected criminal advocate and succeeded Myer Canter as senior partner. Mr Berg subsequently took up an appointment as a district judge in Manchester.

In 1970, Mr Canter set up the first workers’ co-operative based in Kirkby, Merseyside, obtaining for it a £2 million grant from then President of the Board of Trade, Tony Benn. He drafted the constitution for the co-operative which is displayed in the House of Commons and which has become a standard precedent for such organisations. In addition to work for the Labour Party, the firm also provided personal legal services for Harold Wilson. Ian Levin was a well-known local Councillor. He became Lord Mayor of Liverpool and was subsequently made an Alderman of the city.

Following his appointment, Alan Berg identified the need to expand to provide legal services beyond Liverpool city centre. As a result, a branch was opened at the then new town of Kirkby, about 10 miles north east of Liverpool. The opening of the branch coincided with the opening of the town’s magistrates court. Our branch office at Kirkby closed in August 2015 but we continue to provide legal services for the people of Kirkby from our nearby Liverpool office.

In 1977, Harry Levin died after a short illness and Myer Canter retired the following year. Alan Berg remained as senior partner until 1994 when he became a stipendiary magistrate. Lee Heaven, who joined the firm in 1975 and became a partner in 1979, succeeded Mr Berg as senior partner. Lee retired from the firm in 2007.

In 1984 the Liverpool city centre practice relocated to extensively refurbished offices “around the corner” on the junction of Stanley Street and Mathew Street, renowned as the location of The Cavern and a popular haunt for Beatles devotees and international tourists.

In February 2001, our main office in Liverpool relocated from Stanley Street to fully refurbished offices located at Grade 2 listed 1 Temple Square, Dale Street.

Claire Jansz was appointed as a partner, specialising in personal injury law, in August 2004. Claire has been head of our road traffic accident department for many years and in 2016 became head of our personal injury department. She also supervises financial mis-selling claims.

Sean Carty joined the firm as a trainee in 2008. After qualifying he was appointed as the head of our commercial department.

Ian Fitzpatrick - Chief Executive Officer

In February 2017 the partnership business of Canter Levin Berg became a limited company, registered with company number 09745853. The shareholders are Ian Fitzpatrick, Martin Malone, Claire Jansz and Sean Carty.

Martin Malone - Chief Operating Officer

The Firm is committed to the highest quality practice management standards and holds a franchise for the provision of legal aid services for family law. We are recognised as an Investor in People and we have for many years held Lexcel accreditation which is the Law Society’s quality mark for provision of legal services. In 2020, we are one of the leading general practices in the north west of England and our staff continue to provide a wide range of legal services to our local and national clients.