Vizards, the Holborn-based London insurance and commercial firm, is opening a City office for the first time in its 200 year history.
The move follows demand from its institutional clients and Lloyd's syndicates who want the firm's insurance lawyers to be closer to hand in a self-sufficient City team.
The new City office opens with six lawyers and a staff of 12 on 27 March. Partners Robert Harrison and Michael Mitchell will lead the team.
Harrison says the move is “client-led” rather than speculative. “I would like to see us in the future with a larger team in the City, but to that extent we are at our clients' disposal. We do not have any grand designs – that's been the mistake of other practices,” he says.
Insurance work contributes around 70 per cent of Bedford Row-based Vizards' fee income. The firm has three insurance teams, each with a range of skills which when combined provide clients with a close-knit unit. Harrison is taking part of one of the teams, with lawyers specialising in professional indemnity business and material claims work, to the new office. The work involves cases such as train derailments, factory explosions and crane collapses.
This work has a specific London market orientation, which makes a City location attractive, says the firm.
Information technology links with clients will play a vital role in Vizards' development. “Many insurers are moving to paperless files. That's a facility we have to be able to offer as well,” says Harrison. There will also be links with the Bedford Row offices.
Vizards' investment is in the “tens of thousands” bracket. However because of the firm's need for more space, and the fact that City rental is cheaper than Bedford Row, the move is almost cost neutral in strategic terms, says the firm.