Obiter loves a good ‘remember when…?’ session. The current unpleasantness surrounding King & Wood Mallesons has provided the latest subject.
Remember when KWM was simple SJ Berwin at 222 Gray’s Inn Road? Its 1976 headquarters, Obiter recalls, were refreshingly prosaic, with a sort of brownish grey exterior and brownish tinted windows. And were the lift’s walls actually carpeted, or is Obiter’s memory playing tricks?
In 2006 the firm moved dramatically up the property (and interior design) ladder – taking riverside offices at 10 Queen Street Place.
Ralph Cohen, managing partner of the day, invited those notoriously expensive ‘dates’ – the ladies and gentlemen of the legal press – for drinks, canapes and a tour. For a reported £5-£10-a-foot extra, Ralph had acquired a view of the Thames and Southwark Cathedral, break-out zones, glass walls, clear glass lifts, a roof terrace – and one of those near-empty atria into which you could have fitted several lesser firms.
We note that 222 is currently empty again and its agent is marketing it as ‘economical office space to let’. There’s a moral there somewhere.