Rooms To Grow

How Herts-based Nockolds found its second home in the city

Serendipity is defined as ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’ – and serendipity played a key role in Nockolds Solicitors recent expansion.

Nockolds is a well-respected, successful firm of solicitors based in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, with a pedigree dating back over 180 years. They now employ 110 people and have 10 partners.

In 2013 the directors began to look around for a small London-based firm to acquire, both to more effectively take care of clients who spend their working day in the city and to take advantage of wider business opportunities. They identified two or three potentially compatible businesses but nothing was working out. Then one of the companies they had been in conversation with let slip that their premises were actually serviced office space. The Nockolds team was intrigued…

Director James Brunton began to investigate, checking out several different spaces all two or three minutes’ walk from Liverpool Street Station and the fast train back to Bishop’s Stortford. Some were over the top marble and steel giants that gave the instant impression all the clients’ money had gone on the décor. Others were underwhelming. One stood out. On the way back to the station deep in thought after a flurry of guided tours, James heard his name called. The representative who had briefly showed him 43 New Broad Street earlier happened to be stepping into the street. An event was taking place on the roof terrace. Would James like to take another look?

From the roof, looking out over the London skyline, the decision was made.

‘New Broad Street felt the perfect new home for us,’ said James, who has been with Nockolds for fourteen years and now divides his week between London and Bishop’s Stortford. ‘It’s well-presented and very well-managed – the team all know exactly what’s going on and are extremely helpful. And the facilities – like the kitchens on each floor - are great. The conference floor is excellent, with cleverly designed space that adapts easily to everything from small client meetings to the drinks reception for 90 we threw a little while back.’

The space is flexible, smart and professional, and clients instantly feel at home. The décor and signage are subtle. ‘Some clients do assume the whole building is ours…’ smiles James.

Any more serendipitous moments?

‘Yes indeed. We have acquired a large London-based financial institution as a new client, and we’re now working on a major project together which has taken us in an exciting new direction we couldn’t have imagined before setting up in New Broad Street.

Plus in 2014 we welcomed two new partners – fantastic people with great CVs who weren’t on our radar, but crossed paths with us since our presence in London.’

Nockolds began with four desks, expanding to twelve within six months. ‘We needed the extra space to handle the extra business that was coming in…’

So does James have any advice for businesses based out of town who are weighing up the benefits of opening their doors in London?

‘I’d recommend taking well-managed serviced offices. Office Space In Town look after us so well. Do it for the ease – you simply sign and you can move in practically next day – plus the fantastic flexibility. For a professional image in the city, you can’t beat it.’

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