Newtons on crest of a wave as it looks to open more offices

A YORKSHIRE-based law firm is hunting acquisitions and plans to open more offices after defying the slump to generate 75 per cent growth in the last year.

Newtons Solicitors was founded during the 2009 recession, which destroyed a number of high profile law firms.

After starting out as a home-based law firm, the business now has 25 staff, based in offices in Knaresborough, Harrogate and Ripon

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The managing director, Chris Newton, said: “We are delighted with our results. We are investing heavily in our people, systems and marketing to build a strong business delivering a quality service which the local community can have real confidence in.

“There is a buzz about our company and part of my job is to keep us on the crest of that wave.

“This is helping us to attract new work and we are also being contacted regularly by lawyers who see a bright future with Newtons and want to join us.

“With our current team, our turnover for the next financial year is on target to reach £1.2m. However, we have several new recruits and acquisitions in the pipeline, which should take us to around the £2m level.

“Our medium-term plan is to achieve a £5m turnover business by opening in more Yorkshire towns and cities, with York and Ilkley currently on the radar.”  

Mr Newton said the firm’s growth had been driven by its property and litigation departments. Other service areas, including commercial, employment and family are now catching up.

The company, which is also seeking merger and acquisition opportunities, is recruiting lawyers, secretaries and administrative staff every month.

As part of its long-term growth strategy, Newtons is looking to offer jobs to apprentices.

Mr Newton added: “A year from now, we may have 35 staff.”

He said the firm had prospered due to its structure.

According to Mr Newton, the firm isn’t burdened with the traditional ‘management’ committee, which means it can make decisions, and respond to opportunities, very quickly.

All law firms are having to adapt to a new regulatory landscape, which will force them to become more competitive.

At the heart of this new landscape is the Legal Services Act, which came into force in October 2011.

For the first time it allows non-lawyers to invest in and own legal practices.

It also enables non-law firms to offer legal services.

For a legal powerhouse of the size of Yorkshire, the Act’s impact is expected to be huge.

Mr Newton said he planned to include non-lawyers in his management team.

He added: “Nobody knows this job better than lawyers. Not every service can be commoditised. You have got to have relationships with people locally.

“We are modern and business-minded.

“We’re forward thinking and refreshing when compared to the traditional law firm.”

Newtons Solicitors’ growth has been recognised nationally by entrepreneurs’ publication, Real Business Magazine, which listed it as one of the top 50 most exciting businesses in the country.