The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire Edition 21: Oct/Nov 2015 - Page 8

LEGAL Bower & Bailey Solicitors celebrates 30 years in Swindon The Regent Circus based law firm, who employ a team of 40 staff is celebrating 30 years in the town. The firm was originally established as Bower & Bowerman in Bicester in 1973. It became Bower & Bailey in 1982 and the company has traded as Bower & Bailey ever since. The Swindon office is a real success story and a unique one. It is still managed today by the partner who set up the office in 1985, Simon Smith. Simon qualified as a lawyer in 1984 and went to work for Bower & Bailey in Witney. Holding the cards of youth and ambition Simon pushed to progress his career in the firm. In spring 1985 David Bower decided to open a Swindon office which Simon was chosen to set up. Simon said: “This was really quite an unusual opportunity. I was thrilled to be given the chance to establish a firm in a new area. I was only 26, but this was an exciting challenge both for me as a young solicitor and for the firm as a whole. I give credit to David Bower for having the confidence in me and supporting me in those early days.” “We were really lucky the town was happy to embrace us. We had no client base in Swindon and had to build it from scratch. “I did this by walking into offices and introducing myself. legal firms were old fashioned and faceless in those days and I tried to challenge this. “I think we have always understood the importance of customer service, putting the client first. I wanted to treat ESOL people the way I would like to be treated, adding value for money. “ The first office was on 50 Commercial Road and as the team grew they took additional space above the TSB bank. Within a year and a half of opening three solicitors were practicing out of Swindon and by June 1986 Simon was offered a partnership. To establish themselves Simon and the team focussed on the property market and as they grew they organically offered a full range of legal services. They were one of the first firms to offer fixed fee conveyancing and used this as another tool to get themselves known. Bower & Bailey were proactive in forming relationships with bank managers, building societies and property agents and it was this that helped them grow and weather the 90s recession. TBE asked Simon what it was like to work in Swindon thirty years ago. He said: “It was very parochial. The pace of life was a lot slower and the expectations from clients a lot less. We turn over transactions a lot quicker now. Mobile culture has changed everything – people never used to panic if they were told I was not in until the next day, now everybody wants you straight away.” In 1991 the business expanded and moved to their current offices and in 2006 they bought the building adjacent to accommodate further growth. Commenting on Bower & Bailey’s staying power Simon said: “We’ve always worked hard to build relationships with our clients. We’re there when they need us, to take out the elements of stress in their life and be compassionate. I think it’s this understanding that’s helped us succeed. “I’ve also been lucky in terms of staff retention, two of the current partners have been with the firm for over 25 years and others have been with us 20 years plus. It’s this continuity and stability that has helped us. When a client picks up the phone it’s the same team and that maintains confidence.” www.bowerandbailey.co.uk @BowerBailey 01793 610466 English Classes Swindon College Do you have employees that would benefit from improving their use of the English language? Have you heard of ESOL or English for Speakers of Other Languages? Our ESOL courses can make it easier to: • Gain employment or develop in a career • Communicate with professionals • Understand the laws and customs of the UK • Do a course and gain a qualification • Apply to become a British citizen Most of our courses run for 32 weeks and can be attended in the daytime or evening. We also run 15 week courses on weekday afternoons. All courses run during normal term times. There is a course fee, but those that are receiving benefits may not have to pay. For more information: Swindon 8 (01793) 491591 * Studentservices@swindon.ac.uk @ www.swindon.ac.uk Co v ei n u C o Sl