Shoosmiths has been located in Hampshire for over 20 years. Callum shares his thoughts on why continued investment in the region means there is an exciting future here with lots of opportunity for career progression.
Shoosmiths’ Solent Office
In October 2018 105 people from the Shoosmiths’ Solent office relocated into brand new premises across the road at The Forum.
Russell House, where the Solent office was based, had the team split across three floors. This didn’t reflect the agile, collaborative nature of the firm. Forum 5 has proved to be the perfect new home for a non-hierarchical, forward thinking team.
The experience begins with our bright and fresh reception area, equipped with sweets and drinks for visiting clients (not hungry employees!). Bookable rooms offer a great opportunity to have meetings; from intimate spaces to a larger boardroom-style area with adjacent breakout zones. There is also a larger space where firm events are hosted, such as the insight evenings for prospective trainee solicitors.
In complete polarity to Russell House, Forum 5 sees the team spread across a single floor. Operating an agile workspace, the office is split into two wings with the ‘Village Square’ at the centre. The Village Square acts as the heart of Solent, promoting our communal values and abating our coffee cravings. Colleagues love to meet here for more informal collaborations however, the space truly comes alive during lunch. It’s easy to make new connections across the office when everyone is together, from trainee to partner, and the best connections are made over food. We also run our Team Briefs here, where the whole team comes together to offer department and office updates. These are also good opportunities for new starters to work out who’s who.
Windows around the office allow in natural light and glorious views across the lake. Although, you’ll have to get in pretty early to nab a coveted sunbathing seat! Laptop docks on every desk mean anyone can make use of the dual-monitors and sit next to any colleague they wish. Along with more breakout rooms, a soundproof pod is located in the east wing and is used for anything from personal calls to one-to-ones.
Fridays bring a number of relaxation provisions to welcome in the weekend. As well as being dress down, the trainees serve drinks straight to colleagues’ desks from a drinks trolley whilst raising money for the office charity. In an agile working environment, everyone can still be prone to ‘claiming’ seats and so to ensure we remain agile, we’re encouraged to sit somewhere different around the office every Friday
There’s a big focus on growth in the office, and it’s expected that the work-force will expand to more than 150 members enabling career progression, with a continued emphasis on agile and collaborative working.
The firm has been located in Hampshire for more than 20 years, employing over 100 staff at its Solent Business Park office.
Paula Swain, head of Solent office says it is an exciting time for Shoosmiths given that the Hampshire and Southern market is currently thriving.
"We are one of the very few national law firms to have a long established business located in the area already offering a range of legal services, including one of the strongest corporate teams in the country, top tier real estate and planning teams, a class leading private client team supporting high net worth individuals and family estates, and an award winning debt recovery team to name but a few. This perfectly positions us to grow alongside the market, and to think bravely about new sectors and new markets".
The business estate is situated in a prime location on the South Coast. Southampton city centre is 20 minutes to the west, Southsea seafront is 20 minutes to the east. Southampton Parkway Station is a 15-minute taxi ride away, allowing travel to our Reading colleagues or the offices further north.
Immediately surrounding the office is the lake around which many walkers can be seen taking in the sights, including the resident aggressive swans for which warnings must be offered. With swans successfully circumvented, the shopping centre is a 15-minute walk from the office. Whiteley boasts a number of shops, cafes and restaurants as wells as a cinema. Shoosmiths staff can regularly be seen meeting over a Five Guys or grabbing coffee with a client.
Towards the east of the office is a small precinct of restaurants to serve your breakfast and lunch needs. Both Trenchers and Fresh to Desk can deliver food straight to the office – The carbonara pasta pot is my personal recommendation.
Beyond the office
Shoosmiths is known for its excellent work-life balance. The Social and Charity Committees are always trying to find new ways to bring people together. The Village Square is an excellent space to run evening quizzes, bingo & pizza nights, Christmas raffles and to keep up with Wimbledon while eating strawberries and cream. There are also areas for a quiet/heated game of chess or Scrabble. Each department will also run their own social events including attendance at the New Forest Show and Goodwood.
Beyond the office, the New Friday events are a great opportunity to network with young professionals. Run by trainees, the evenings are hosted in Southampton with drinks and food. They are attended by paralegals, trainees & accountants from other firms which is ideal for expanding your connections.
With many pubs, wine bars and restaurants, it’s hard to choose between Southampton and Portsmouth for nightlife. Gunwharf in Portsmouth is a great harbour-hub for clubs by the water. The Polygon area of Southampton offers many cocktail bars and the Mayflower brings in the biggest shows for theatre buffs.
To learn more about Shoosmiths’ office in Solent, take a look at our blog and watch #ShoosmithsLIVE: Working at Solent.
Interested in what Shoosmiths can offer you? Find out more about their opportunities here.