Forget any image of a small-town solicitor working in a paper-strewn, musty office. If it was ever correct, it isn’t now.
Nigel Lubbock, who has just recorded 40 years as a solicitor with Steeles Law, can remember in his early days that letters would be delivered, considered at length, a reply dictated perhaps the next day and posted off.
That almost leisurely life gave way to the internet.
Emails have replaced the post, questions are researched online and opinions given immediately.
Speed is the biggest change he has noticed in a career with Steeles which began at the firm’s Harleston office, moved to Diss — which he still visits each week — then Thetford and continues at Norwich where he is senior director.
Norwich born Mr Lubbock began in the legal profession in 1973. Four years later, he joined Steeles at Harleston as an assistant solicitor and found time besides his legal duties to join the Round Table.
Although Round Table has died out in Diss, it is still going in Harleston and Mr Lubbock will be returning to the town for it 50th anniversary celebrations.
Steeles opened in Diss in 1980 and Mr Lubbock moved to the town in 1987. Ten years later, he moved to Thetford, before settling in Norwich.
His wife Judith is a former Lord Mayor of Norwich and they both support the local arts community.
While at Diss, Mr Lubbock was for several years chairman of the Diss Industry Group, and although some of the firms from that time have gone, others have established and the town, he was said, was still a “growing and thriving community”.
“Our practice in the Waveney Valley is as strong or stronger than ever.”
As a Notary Public — which is a separate qualification for preparing and executing documents for use abroad — Mr Lubbock’s practice is international, which is more contradiction of a the image of a small town solicitor.
A notable case he remembers from Diss provides more evidence. As the office was closing for a New Year’s Eve, he was asked to halt a massive illegal rave. It required 40 hours of work in two days and included a Sunday appearance before a high court judge.
As a business lawyer, he has been involved in significant acquisitions and sales and the firm has a North American clientele.
“You can do all that but still live and work in a place like Diss,” he said.