A three-week work experience with a firm of commercial surveyors and agents has led to an astonishing career for Emon Ahmed, who at the age of 30 is now chief executive of Stirling Ackroyd legal. He did his work experience at the age of 18 as he was just starting a degree in business, finance and banking at Queen Mary University of London and somehow worked at the firm throughout higher education.
In 2009 he pitched an idea to James Goff, chairman of Stirling Ackroyd, that they should launch a legal arm of the business. James recognised a great idea and in 2015 the new business was launched, by acquiring a law firm in Chelsea. Meanwhile Emon had added a legal degree to his qualifications. He says, “James was wonderful. He treated me like a son. Sadly he died recently but not before he met my wife and my daughter, which I think made him happy.”
Now Emon is chief executive of Stirling Ackroyd Legal with over 100 staff and six offices in the UK and three in the Middle East. “All our staff are experts in property and know the business backwards. We deal with developers and investors, small and large but of course our bread and butter is the ordinary house buyer and seller. We are most recognised in the industry as the go to people for litigious matters such as property fraud or lease disputes, if you are acquiring a diverse commercial portfolio or simply selling and purchasing a residential property.
“People are often frightened of solicitors thinking that they will be hit by an enormous bill, but we don’t like the old-fashioned idea of charging for every little letter or extra. Our first conversation will be free and then we provide a fixed fees for the task and if it takes longer than we estimated that’s our problem, not the clients.“
Recently the company opened two new offices, in Tower Bridge London SE1 and The Royal Exchange in the City of London EC3, as part of their strategy of rapid expansion. Once again the offices are unlike the normal stuffy solicitor’s practices. There are comfortable chairs, coffee and refreshments available and the opportunity to drop in to discuss a problem, to see whether the firm can help.
The firm also has a dedicated team of solicitors who are specialised to assist investors and buy-to-let landlords who need help with disputes with residential and commercial tenants or other issues. They can represent clients in lease renewals, the collection of rents and service charges. Whilst the litigation team can manage rent reviews, breaches of covenants, recovery of possession, planning applications and so on.
For ordinary house or flat buyers dealing with a specialist firm means that every sort of property transaction is routine for the solicitors and there should be no nasty surprises during any of the process.
Naturally the firm is also equipped to help property investors who have large portfolios to manage with all the complication legal problems that can arise.