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Michael Hanley retires from the partnership

Date posted: 31 March 2021

Today, 31st March 2021, Michael Hanley retires as our Senior Partner and steps down from the partnership after 32 years of tremendous service to the firm. Michael will take up a new role at the firm as a Senior Consultant from 1st April 2021.


We want to thank Michael for all his work over the years and pay tribute to his career as a partner at the firm.


Michael graduated from Cambridge University in law and was admitted as a solicitor in 1985.


In 1989 Andrew Wilson set up a small legal aid firm in Tottenham and invited Michael to become his partner. Andrew and Michael became the founding partners of Wilson and Co in 1990.


The firm has been part of the Tottenham community for the last 31 years. It has been the largest legal aid firm in the area for some years. Michael and Andrew built the firm up from a few staff to a firm of just under 100 people.


Michael was an idealist young man in those early days, helping the Kurdish and Somali communities to get asylum in the UK.


He became one of the leading immigration and refugee lawyers in the UK. He was the solicitor in a number of leading House of Lords cases on the definition of a refugee and took important cases to the European Court of Human Rights.


Sadly Andrew died in July 2001 and following his premature death Michael kept the firm going through that difficult time and became the managing and senior partner.


During these twenty years he brought younger lawyers into the partnership and built up a formidable reputation for Wilson Solicitors LLP as one of the country’s best law firms.


The firm now has thriving and successful practices in immigration law, family law, public law, community care law, and actions against public authorities.


Michael has been ranked in both Chambers and Legal 500 as a leader in his field of immigration law for many years.


In the Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession he has been praised for his “thorough, completely committed approach”, for his “unyielding dedication in pushing cases in the right direction for his clients”, as a lawyer who “always sees his clients through to the end of the case”, as a “perfect example of a top immigration lawyer”, as “absolutely top-notch and a brilliant and effective lawyer in his field”, being “dedicated to the clients he serves”, being “superbly insightful, wonderfully pragmatic and immensely compassionate”, and being simply “absolutely excellent”


Michael’s retirement has been some time in the planning, ever since Michael decided 60 was the age to slow down.




These were Michaels’ words to the staff on announcing his retirement;


It has been my immense privilege to have worked with so many fantastic people in Wilsons over these many years. Around 400 people have passed through the firm in the last 3 decades – and it’s now my turn to embark on that journey. I wish each and every one of you all the very best for the future challenges to come, confident that the great reputation of the firm is safe in your many hands.


Thank you to Michael for all that he has have done for the firm over the many decades.


He is a brilliant lawyer and led by example.


He has trained, mentored, and inspired a generation of lawyers.


The firm would not be what it is today without Michael and his immense contribution.


All the partners and staff wish Michael the very best of times in retirement and we also look forward to continuing to work alongside him in his new role as a Senior Consultant.