ALKMAAR – With Christmas behind us, many are already looking forward to the new year: “The year 2023, what will it bring?”. For our office, 2023 is above all a very special year, because next year our office will be in existence for exactly one hundred years. A milestone that is not for many companies. A milestone so special that you can even ask the King to give you an award: the predicate Royal or Purveyor to the Royal Court.
2023 a special year
The King then grants by decree that the company in question can henceforth (temporarily) use the predicate ‘Royal’ or ‘Public Service to the Court’, a royal appreciation of the company’s importance to society. And for the way of doing business. As a supplier to the Royal Court, you can even use the coat of arms together with the royal coat of arms, for example on the building, stationery or website.
Such an approaching anniversary year will of course keep you busy. Also when you are on holiday. In recent weeks, I took a break with my wife and, lying on my beach bed, I let my mind run wild about the history of our office. Starting in 1923. Lawyer Cees Smal then came up with the bright idea of starting his own law firm in Alkmaar. The world then looked completely different from today’s world, the First World War had only just ended and it was, without exaggeration, harsh and economically difficult (crisis) times.
Our office was therefore founded on that basis. And (despite this) it also held its own as ground-breaking and historic events unfolded again and again on the national and international stage. Think, for example, of the stock market crash in New York in 1929. Or the rise of National Socialism in the 1930s, followed by World War II. Consider, for example, the rise of aviation, space travel, radio and television. And of course I could go on and on: the Berlin Wall and its fall, the assassination of JF Kennedy, the 1953 flood disaster, European unification, the first moon landing, women’s liberation, the fight for abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, the rise of computers and the Internet, the credit crunch of 2008, etc. Often these events also brought all sorts of legal implications.
Registration with the Chamber of Commerce
So the world was in full swing, and so was law and the legal profession. Over time, of course, new lawyers also joined the firm. They also left their mark on the office. As a result, the firm went through the necessary name changes in varying composition: from first (first) Smal advocaten, it later became Smal cs, then Smal & Castelijns, then Castelijns & Kaandorp and finally Castelijns Kaandorp Hoekstra. The latter name has now become (abbreviated) CKH Advocaten and the office has grown from a small, local actor to a much larger, national actor. In 2023, we will have almost thirty lawyers on board, and in addition to our head office in Alkmaar, there are also branches in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht. The abbreviated, more timeless (brand) name also makes it clear that nowadays – unlike in the past – it no longer has to be so much (only) about the partners’ ‘surnames’. It is primarily about the people, about the group, about the team. And that team will only continue to grow strongly in the coming years, that’s our expectation.
Who could have imagined all this when Cees Smal had his one-man office registered in the Alkmaar Chamber of Commerce in 1923? In any case, we are literally ‘forever’ grateful to him (and after him especially his son Adelbert, Louis Castelijns and Theo Kaandorp) for creating the right to exist and laying the foundation for the way we still live in 2023 .lawyers can and must conduct business. Of course, a lot has changed in a hundred years.
One hundred years of legal practice also show that our office has periodically had to deal with fundamental and sometimes ground-breaking, intense cases. Relationships that have sometimes literally had great social impact and significance, both locally, regionally and nationally. This will undoubtedly not change in the near future, on the contrary. After all, our office excels in conducting ‘impossible’ and ground-breaking cases, especially for entrepreneurs. Does not give up easily, always sees opportunities, will go to the extreme, will make a difference. In this way, I expect that we can also make an important contribution to monitoring and promoting our customers’ interests in the future.
And the last thing, looking after the customers’ interests, is for me what it is always primarily about in our profession. A royal appreciation of the importance of your company to society and to the way you do business, which frankly can be ‘stolen’ to me (by the way, certain professions, such as the legal profession, are also excluded from being eligible for the Royal Warrant Holder and Royal ). After all, it is about the appreciation of our customers and the importance of our company to our customers. And the challenge is to let this appreciation only grow in the coming years. And then it is inevitable that our office will still exist in a hundred years, although unfortunately I will no longer be able to experience it. We have a fantastic team of young, ambitious and reliable lawyers, all of whom are cut from the right cloth. This gives us enormous confidence in the future of our company. And for the future of our customers. A hundred years old, but still very much alive!