A footballer-turned-solicitor, estate agent entrepreneur and social housing consultant have joined forces to launch a new law firm in the North-East of England.
Hunter Maxwell Associates (HMA) has gone live on the platform of alternative business structure 360 Law Services, part of the 360 Law Group.
Chris Sanders, the former professional footballer and director of HMA, said the firm resembled a “mini-ABS” in being set up with non-lawyers Ben Quaintrell, an estate agent entrepreneur, and social housing consultant Danny Key.
Mr Sanders said HMA’s offices in Newcastle and Darlington were based alongside those of estate and lettings group My Property Box, founded by Mr Quaintrell. Mr Key is director of housing and social care consultancy Support Solutions UK.
The three have invested their own capital into the business and are not looking for external backing for the time being.
Mr Sanders said HMA would begin by offering residential and commercial conveyancing, corporate, and wills and trusts services.
The agreement with 360 Law Services provides that the latter keeps 30% of the fees in return for providing back-office functions and indemnity insurance, among other things.
Mr Sanders said the firm had “got off to a good start” with mortgage brokers and estate agents, and had just taken its first commercial instruction.
It had also referred work to the 360 Group, for which it could earn a small commission. The ability to refer work to the group enabled HMA to tell clients that it could offer “any service”.
Mr Sanders, a former independent member of the Football Association’s judicial panel, said sports law was a possibility for the future.
He will remain a director of independent fostering agency The Acorns and EduTech Recruitment, which specialises in recruitment in the education sector.
Mr Sanders studied law after becoming a professional footballer at Darlington FC, which was in League 2 at that time.
He left the club at 19 with one O-Level, however, found a job as a civil servant at the Ministry of Defence, and later studied law at university, with the Professional Footballers’ Association funding half the cost of his legal practice course.
He qualified as a solicitor before setting up the law firm Austen Sanders in Darlington.
Mr Quaintrell said the firm could offer “a full range of residential conveyancing services to both our sales clients, but also to those looking to buy or remortgage”.
He said that since the law firm’s directors were “established property investors” with “well-established connections within investor networks”, they would be able to advise “on a range of matters from property development to the property aspects of sophisticated pension schemes”.
Mr Key added: “Many social housing and care providers have a range of legal needs, for example contractual service agreements with local authorities, or the acquisition of property for the delivery of their services, involving purchases of commercial property or business leases.”