Newtons considers heading south for expansion

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A businessman who held a senior role at Cartridge World is providing strategic advice to a law firm which is establishing a network of offices around Yorkshire.

John Richardson, who was previously chairman of Cartridge World in Europe and North Africa, has joined Newtons Solicitors as a non-executive director.

Newtons, which gained Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status from the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority last year, has opened its eighth office in five years.

Chris Newton, the firm’s managing director, said part of Mr Richardson’s suggested strategy was to “take the business south, including towns like Guildford, Winchester, Chichester and Cheltenham, once we have the systems and team in place to apply our model to the new towns.”

ABS was introduced as part of the Legal Services Act, which allows non-lawyers to take equity stakes in law firms for the first time, creating major opportunities for expansion. Knaresborough-based Newtons is 100 per cent owned by Mr Newton and his wife Sarah.

The firm’s new three-floor office, in the Grove, Ilkley, opened yesterday. It expects to employ up to six full-time staff in the next few months.

The office will be managed by Newtons Solicitors’ director, Victoria Trelease, a former Marks & Spencer lawyer and wills and probate specialist, who joined the firm in 2013. Other potential recruits include property and family law solicitors, along with support staff.

Mr Newton said: “Ilkley suits our business model because it is a very good quality town with a vibrant business community. It is not too large, so our philosophy of local people being able to deal with experienced local lawyers will work very well. This expansion represents a cold start for us in a new county (West Yorkshire) so we’re hungry for new business and to prove what we can do.”

Newtons Solicitors, which was founded by Mr and Mrs Newton in 2009, has achieved turnover of £2.5m this year.

The firm, which also has offices in Harrogate, Ripon, York, Leyburn, Richmond and Darlington, has 13 directors and LLP partners and 38 lawyers. The Ilkley office, which the firm is leasing, is the former caretaker’s cottage for the local church, and has been renovated by Halliday Clark Architects.