Having been born in Tunbridge Wells in Kent and educated at Tonbridge, Kim Kennedy attended the Polytechnic of Central London Law Department, formerly known as The Holborn School of Law and Languages where he undertook an LLB. Kim attended the Lancaster Gate Law School for his Law Society exams and returned to a firm in Tonbridge called Bailey & Cogger for two years of articles. He qualified in 1981 at a very young age and is believed to have been the youngest solicitor in the country at the time.
“Having qualified I remained with Bailey & Cogger in Tonbridge for about four years before looking around for a challenge and an opportunity to further my legal career. Having elderly parents in Tunbridge Wells, I didn’t want to move too far away from that area. Being interested in history and archaeology, I wanted to move to a town which gave me the opportunity to cultivate those interests. I went for job interviews in Chichester and elsewhere but then saw a job advertised in the Law Society Gazette in Colchester. I applied and was invited for an interview.
When I attended for the interview at John Fowler Oldman & Co, as the firm was then known, I met and immediately got on extremely well with Harold Oldman, the senior partner, plus Tony Fowler (the son of John Fowler who founded the firm) and Colin Dove. I hit it off extremely well with Harold Oldman and immediately felt certain that firstly he would offer me a job and that secondly, I would accept it. I was right on both counts.
I joined the firm in January 1985 and Harold Oldman immediately told me that he wanted me to drag the firm kicking and screaming into the twentieth century. He also wanted me to move the firm forwards and gradually expand which is something I have tried to do over the last thirty years.
When I joined John Fowlers, I was very much a general practice solicitor, as was common in those days. I did conveyancing, commercial work, Wills, probate, civil litigation, criminal litigation and other areas of work. The breadth of the work I was able to do has proved extremely beneficial since it has given me a wide experience which has I believe helped me to expand and change the firm over the years. As the years have gone by, the areas of work done by me have gradually narrowed down. For many years I did in equal measure conveyancing and commercial work on the one hand and criminal work on the other hand. Whilst nowadays I do less criminal work and specialise in domestic and commercial conveyancing and other private client work, I suspect that many still know me from my days as a well known criminal advocate.
Although it seems like yesterday, a little over thirteen years ago, my predecessor senior partner of the firm, Colin Dove, retired and I took over as the firm’s senior partner. I immediately set about trying to develop and expand the firm. Soon afterwards my wife Sharon Coomber, who for a number of years had run her own practice specialising in mental health work, civil litigation and criminal work, incorporated her firm within John Fowlers as it was then known. As a firm, for the first time in twenty-five years, we then started to take on trainee solicitors such as Chris Andrews who is now one of my partners.
I have also been based at the firm’s office in Colchester. For most of the time the firm was based at 63 High Street, Colchester. Soon after Colin Dove’s retirement, the firm moved to new premises at Town Hall Chambers in St. Runwald Street and since then has taken on further premises in East Stockwell Street as well as West Stockwell Street in Colchester. The firm also now has branches not just in Colchester and Brightlingsea but Clacton and West Mersea. The number of others within the firm has also expanded considerably. What hasn’t changed is the firm’s desire to offer a wide range of services in a helpful, friendly manner at reasonable cost.
On a personal level, having come to Colchester some thirty-five years ago, am merely accepted as belonging to Colchester.
Initially, on coming to Colchester I joined the Colchester Archaeological Society and took part in numerous digs in the area of Culver Square. Since very soon after my arrival in Colchester, I have been heavily involved in the Law Society, running over many years the Colchester Solicitors Group and a couple of years ago was the President of the Suffolk and North Essex Law Society. I have many other interests including being the Secretary of the “Thieves” in Colchester being the Colchester Association for the Protection of Property and the Prosecution of Offenders founded in 1793.”