Ipswich: Attwells Solicitors relocates to former Bank of Scotland offices
- Credit: Archant
Attwells Solicitors was set up seven years ago in the midst of a downturn. Now 50-strong, the team, headed up by Nick Attwell and co-partners Will Oakes, Laura Harrington-Rutterford and Lisa Draper, has moved from the outskirts of Ipswich to a prominent building in the town centre. SARAH CHAMBERS reports.
A firm of solicitors says it has demonstrated its commitment to Ipswich after relocating to a prominent former bank building in the town centre.
Attwells Solicitors has relocated the bulk of its 50-strong legal team to the revamped old Bank of Scotland building in the town’s Princes Street, after deciding to buck the trend and move into town, rather than to its outskirts.
The firm, headed up by Nick Attwell and co-partners Will Oakes, Laura Harrington-Rutterford and Lisa Draper, chose a prominent building in the town’s legal quarter to give the business a higher profile, investing their own pensions in the premises.
Mr Attwell said they intended to be around “for many years to come”.
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“We are a £3 million turnover business and our old premises at Beacon House on White House Road in Ipswich had served us well. However, we felt that the time had come in our development and we needed to look for somewhere that would reflect our position as an established broad legal business,” he said.
“We are very proud that we have built Attwells over the last seven years to become the 40th largest conveyancer in the UK, but we wanted to ensure that we could further establish our fast-growing reputation for providing those other, just as important, legal services. Where better to do that, then by joining the other solicitors and professional services businesses based in the legal quarter of Ipswich?”
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The full service law firm, which has 50 staff, five of whom are based in London, includes four partners, 33 fee earners and the rest in support functions.
The practice has grown 10% year-on-year since 2008 and in addition to its conveyancing work, it offers a range of legal advice, from employment and business law, through private client work and litigation, to family and immigration advice.
The firm believes its new premises on Princes Street reflects the company ethos, with a traditional exterior combined with a modern and open interior.
“Our openness and approachability is our USP and we wanted the building to incorporate that. For instance, we will try and keep our entrance doors open at all times, encouraging and promoting the fact that we welcome in our customers and will give them an initial consultation at no charge,” said Mr Attwell.
“We also want to deliver in a modern way that is speedy, knowledgeable and reliable, whilst still retaining some of the unusual and historic features in this lovely building.
“For instance, there is a massive safe in the cellar of the building which we will utilise as a vault for the safe storage of wills, deeds and documents.”
Light oak floors have been installed, the walls are white and spaces are separated by glass partitions to allow in as much light as possible. Where the existing bank counter used to be, there are now three meeting rooms. The works were carried out by Ipswich-based architects and Stowmarket builders Heronbuild.
Local firms Penn Commercial acted as the agent, and Scrutton Bland was the accountant.
“The irony is that we very quickly realised that we had already outgrown the Bank of Scotland building. It was important to keep the team together, so as a result, we have simultaneously leased a further three floors of Century House next door,” said Mr Attwell.
“This new base for Attwells will inspire and motivate the team to want to develop the practice further. At the age of 40, I am now one of our eldest solicitors in this young vibrant independent law firm.
“We all want to keep growing, developing and improving, both as a business and individually. We also want to learn more about what our clients want and expect, and develop our skills and services to match.
“We intend to be around for many years to come and if proof was needed, then take the fact that the partners have come together and purchased the premises using their own pensions. This shows our commitment to the practice and the town and confirms that we are here for the long term.”