James L Russell had volunteered to serve in the First World War together with his brother Samuel E Russell. Both survived the many campaigns they were involved in including the Somme.
He qualified with top honours as a Solicitor despite the course necessitating him travelling to Dublin via England & Wales due to the conflict which was rife. He was a family man and with Sarah, his wife had six of a family.
The firm had another main office in Royal Avenue, Belfast and sub offices in the Ballymena/County Antrim catchment area. It was while driving to these sub offices at Ballyclare that he was involved in a motor accident that caused his death on the 1st April 1941.
The practice was overseen by the staff and some legal practitioners for a while to allow his elder son, George, to qualify. This, uniquely, was achieved by George Russell studying for his LL.B honours degree and his Solicitor’s Professional Exams simultaneously. George Russell resurrected the family practice with his brother James Smyth Russell becoming a partner after he qualified. James Smyth Russell was mainly based in the Belfast office (following the said Samuel) although he later moved to the Ballymena offices.
The family nature of James L Russell & Son was in time underlined when George’s son, also James Lockhart, became qualified to act as a Solicitor and joined the practice with his wife Jacqueline Graham Simpson Russell gracing the firm as a Solicitor a short while later.
Messrs James L Russell & Son is still based at 55 High Street, Ballymena with its family qualities being emphasised by the daughter of James and Jacqueline, Helen, becoming qualified to act as a Solicitor and joining the firm after studying in Newcastle, County Durham and Belfast in 2006.
Helen is the fourth direct generation of the Russell family to qualify as a Solicitor and is unique in legal practices.
Furthermore the original James L Russell, George Russell, James L Russell and now Jacqueline G S Russell have all been appointed Notary Public.
From the original James Lockhart Russell to the present members of James L Russell & Son this family continuity of service to the community and to the firm’s clients is the ethos and nucleus of its core had volunteered to serve in the First World War together with his brother Samuel E Russell. Both survived the many campaigns they were involved in including the Somme.