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About > History

A brief history of Canter Levin & Berg

On his return from the Second World War, Myer Julius Canter founded the firm of Solicitors which became Canter Levin & Berg.

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. Mr Mannheim died in February 2002 after a lengthy illness. 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.

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 our presence in the town continues with our stall located in the famous Kirkby market.

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.

Our Criminal Law Department. is run jointly by long serving partners Peter Mitchell, a partner since 2000, and Richard Hughes who became a partner in 2004..

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

Richard Hughes (crime) and Claire Jansz (personal injury) were appointed as partners in August 2004 and are both based at our Liverpool office. In 2005 the partnership was further expanded with the appointment of Ian Troop (road traffic).

The Firm is committed to the highest quality practice management standards and holds franchises for the provision of legal aid services for crime and family law. We are recognised as an Investor in People and we have for several years held Lexcel accreditation which is the Law Society's quality mark for provision of legal services. In 2016, we are one of the leading general practices in the north west of England and our staff of over 50, together with six directors continue to provide a full range of legal services to our local and national clients.