Nigel is a well known and inimitable character to many, in both his professional fields and the local arts community, of which he and his wife Judith – former Lord Mayor of Norwich – are ardent supporters.
Born in Norwich, Nigel joined Steeles Law (then known as Steele & Co) in 1977 as an Assistant Solicitor, having entered the legal profession in 1973. He began at the firm’s former office in Harleston and moved to Diss and Thetford before settling in Norwich, where he remains today as Senior Director.
Nigel describes his first memories of Steeles as being a small, country practice in “old fashioned” offices – a far cry from the busy commercial practices Nigel heads today at the firm’s city centre based premises. Steeles mainly served the local community, which it continues to do, as well as working with many business and individual clients further afield.
Understandably, Nigel has seen many changes both in terms of the legal profession and in the office working environment during his time at Steeles Law. He considers that the internet is the biggest change, increasing the speed of communication and research beyond measure. For example, to obtain a copy of an Act of Parliament would have previously required a visit to a Government bookshop, where you would have to place an order and wait 7-8 days for delivery. The same information can now be accessed online within 20 seconds.
Nigel has noted a significant increase in the quality of trainee solicitors and paralegals today, compared to the “articled clerks” of yesteryear. They are savvier, with a broader range of skills, particularly in terms of IT, self production and research. Nigel comments that such employees “provide a brilliant intellectual challenge, which in turn is very stimulating for the business and me personally”.
Nigel adds that one thing that hasn’t changed is the “relentless demand of Steeles on the service that we deliver to our clients”. The ultimate testimony to which is that Nigel is still working with clients to whom he has acted for over 30 years.