“We decided that three heads were better than one, particularly in this business.”
Matt Brock was practicing law in the Flatiron Building in Chattanooga's city center for the past few years, but he and two associates decided the rapidly changing Southside was a better fit.
Brock and fellow attorneys Garth Best and Andrea Hayduk purchased a 107-year-old building at 1257 Market St. and revamped the structure for their new law firm.
"Everything is coming around here," he said about the site that formerly held Mom's Italian Villa for many years before it closed in 2015. "It's booming around here."
Still, Brock said, the new law office is only a 10-minute walk from the Hamilton County Courthouse, and CARTA's electric shuttle buses run along Market Street.
The trio of lawyers bought the building last February and finished the extensive renovations in October. They had known one another, talked about getting together and the opportunity arose to form Best Hayduk Brock PLLC, Brock said.
"We decided that three heads were better than one, particularly in this business," he said. So they bought the building and asked contractor Dexter White to renovate it, the attorney said.
Kim White, who heads the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group River City Co., said the aim is to try to make the area a place to live, work and play.
The Southside has had a lot of live and play, but little of the work aspect, she said.
"Adding work adds to a whole dimension for a full variety of different uses in the area," White said.
While the two-story, 3,500-square-foot brick structure was refurbished, one unique feature the law partners put in is a so-called "mock courtroom," Brock said. It's designed to help witnesses who may have little or no experience in court to prepare to testify, he said.
"If someone has never been in trouble, what's it going to be like?" clients may ask, Brock said. The mock courtroom enables clients to see where the judge and attorneys will be located "so it's not foreign to them when they do go to court," he said.
Also, the mock courtroom can be used by young people who may want to be lawyers to train in practice trials, the attorney said.
All of the three law partners practice some criminal law, said Brock, 35, who graduated from Ooltewah High School, the University of Tennessee and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.
"A good part of my practice is impaired driving," he said.
Best works a lot in federal court, while Hayduk also practices as a bankruptcy trustee, Brock said.
White said the Southside is seeing the opening of more traditional office space that typically had been located in the city center. At the same time, the city center is starting to see new uses move into that part of downtown, such as apartments, she said.
"It's a good thing," White said.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318.