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Legal heavyweights are launching Square One Law

Two heavyweight commercial lawyers have launched their own regional law firm after leaving the Newcastle office of international law Eversheds. Ian Gilthorpe and Alan Fletcher, have established Square One Law, in the Fleming Business Centre, Jesmond, Newcastle, saying they believe “most organisations want to see a different approach to legal services”.

Gilthorpe, a stalwart of the region’s commercial law scene, said: “The firm is called Square One Law, because we started at square one and listened to what our clients were telling us about their experience of how legal services are currently delivered. It is clear that they want great service combined with certainty on costs and great value for money. So we’ve attacked overhead in a way that is only possible when you are starting afresh. Clients also want to deal with experienced lawyers who have a real understanding of their business and not be delegated to inexperienced members of a larger team. Our core areas of expertise are corporate, commercial, property, litigation and employment.

Gilthorpe worked at Newcastle law firm Muckle for more than 30 years, heading the firm as managing partner from 1985 to 2002. He later became a senior partner and then moved into a business development role before leaving and later joining Eversheds three years ago.

Alan Fletcher is the son of former Newcastle United chairman Freddie Fletcher and was corporate finance partner at Eversheds. Fletcher said: “We’ve developed a fresh way of working and our investment into client-based technologies means we can work in a different, more efficient and responsive way. Law firms have a tendency to over-engineer solutions and we are creating a streamlined operation that will help to keep things simpler. We are smaller and leaner, but the quality of the people we are attracting is extremely high. The partners who will be joining us shortly have many years’ experience in their field with a proven track record. Square One Law lawyers will not be driven by extensive internal administration and billing targets so will have more time to focus on understanding the client’s objectives. We are developing a culture that concentrates on exceptional service delivery for our clients and is an enjoyable and fulfilling place to work.

Gilthorpe says the firm currently has round 10 people in its team. It expects to have five partners by the autumn and to be employing up to 50 people within 12 months.

He added: “Alan and I are excited about building a new firm as it presents a unique opportunity to bring like-minded people together who want to offer clients greater choice, flexibility and control around costs.”

Successful North East businessman Nigel Mills, who recently sold his convenience store chain for more than £20m to Tesco, said: “While at Eversheds Ian and Alan made a major contribution to achieving a successful sale of Mills Group to One Stop and demonstrated commitment, drive and commercial acumen in getting a complex deal done. They are being entrepreneurial in their approach to the legal market and it can only be good for businesses in the North East to have more choice. I wish them every success”.

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