Sheffield's Lifestyle Wins Over Partner of Tapestry Compliance
15 March 2016
Sheffield born Bob Grayson, a partner of Tapestry Compliance, on why he decided to open a legal services office on home ground.
After 15 years of working for London-based law firm, Linklaters and in-house at Shell, commuting to and from Sheffield, I decided to set up a company here because I wanted to combine offering a world class service with a good quality of life and helping Sheffield’s position as a commercial centre. This led me to co-found Tapestry Compliance with Janet Cooper in 2011 and set up our city centre office at Sellers Wheel. It’s a great location; we are right in the heart of it, having shops, cafes and other facilities on our doorstep – something prohibitively expensive in London.
At Tapestry we advise world-leading global companies on the legal and tax requirements relating to executive remuneration and employee share plans. We have invested in technology, which is also supported by local IT specialists, in developing an online database to enable our global clients to access legal and tax information about operating employee share plans in over 150 countries, which is used by companies like TripAdvisor and Discovery Channel. We are a small firm with a headcount of about 30 but we are the biggest team of lawyers in the UK specializing in this field. It’s a niche market and we compete with some of the biggest law and accountancy firms. The firm is doing well here in Sheffield; we are already ranked alongside some of the industry's biggest names and have won awards like 'The Lawyer Awards Boutique Law Firm of the Year 2015', 'The Legal 500 Awards 2015', 'Yorkshire Legal Awards 2015 and Yorkshire Post's ‘Excellence in Business Awards 2015'. Our client base is mainly global, with some clients also in Leeds and London. Sheffield is the ideal location for us as it is a well-connected city with regular direct trains to London and Manchester airport, making it easy for staff and clients to meet.
It wasn’t just because of my roots that I decided to set up a law firm in Sheffield; it was also because of the lifestyle Sheffield has to offer, both from a work and leisure perspective. We wanted to achieve a better work-life balance than what is possible in London, and these values have become part of our office environment here. For instance, we have parents working at the firm, including women who are still under-represented in the legal sector, and both full and part time staff. Our employees have the option to work in a way that suits them. By being flexible with our staff we have attracted very talented people and have created a good atmosphere, the office is usually buzzing as employees enjoy working in this type of environment. We want to set a benchmark for other firms, by demonstrating that it is possible to run a successful law firm with leading-edge, high-quality work, whilst providing a better working environment. Since we opened our office in Sheffield we have had only one of our lawyers leave – and they are coming back!
Many of our employees like to get involved in outdoor and sporting events here in Sheffield. For example, one of our trainee solicitors, Rebecca Campsall, who studied at the University of Sheffield, is an elite level track athlete, competing in both national and international athletics championships in 100 metres and trains at the English Institute of Sport. I also take part in different clubs myself: I am a member of Derbyshire Pennine club where I go climbing, caving and hill walking in the Peak District as well as being an active member of the Hallamshire Squash and Tennis club (home club of Johnny Marray the Wimbledon doubles champion). But it's not just the outdoor and sporty stuff that's appealing, the city also has a world class cultural offering with the Crucible and Lyceum Theatres, museums, City Hall, Curzon and Showroom cinemas.
If I were to give any advice to an unhappy lawyer commuting for hours every week on the London tube, I would say: “Before you start settling down, make the move to a city where you can have the job and the lifestyle”.
For more information on Tapestry Compliance visit their website: http://www.tapestrycompliance.com/