Chris Newton

Newton: “a lot of business to be had from county towns”

Newtons, a rapidly expanding Yorkshire firm, is setting its sights on new offices in the south of England after appointing a former chairman of Cartridge World as a non-executive director.

The law firm became an ABS last year, after starting life in Chris Newton’s “garden shed” in 2009. Newtons opened a seventh Yorkshire office, in Ilkley, this week. It has an eighth office in Darlington, County Durham.

Mr Newton, the firm’s managing director, said Guildford and Winchester, Cheltenham and Cirencester could all be potential targets.

“We are big believers in local people doing business with local lawyers. We’re avoiding the big cities. There’s a lot of business to be had from the small county towns.

“Our local offices act as portals to build up work. Our new office in Ilkely covers property, family law and wills and probate, but it will also attract a wider variety of work, such as company and commercial.

“We can deliver that service without actually having a commercial team in Ilkley. We are getting a wide variety of clients, which gives us resilience and strength.”

Meanwhile, Newtons has appointed John Richardson, formerly chairman of Cartridge World for Europe, to be as a non-executive director.

“We did a lot of work with him,” Mr Newton said. “He liked the service we delivered and said: ‘I think you could really do something with this business in terms of scaling it up.’

“With Cartridge World, he’s seen how you can scale a business. It’s interesting to get a perspective from an experienced businessman, not a lawyer, who has seen your service first hand.”

Mr Newton said he was hoping to open a ninth northern office in September, following the acquisition of a firm with a turnover of around £800,000.

He said his aim was to strengthen the firm’s position in the north, in towns like Skipton, Durham, Chester and Penrith, before opening in the south by the end of 2015.

“What I am doing is reducing the amount of legal work I do to spend more time managing the business, particularly in terms of growth. As we get bigger, it’s less of leap to say ‘this is where we’re going next’. The business starts feeding itself and there’s a buzz to it.”

 

 

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