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Square One Law Wins Regional Law Firm Award

Newcastle commercial law firm, Square One Law has made significant progress since its start up in 2011. It has been recognised by the ACQ 5 Law Awards and has been awarded UK – regional law firm 2013.

The legal marketplace is going through unparalleled change as new entrants, offering alternative working models, challenge the traditional law firms which have operated in a protected marketplace in the past. This will continue to gather pace and the challenge for law firms is to decide what type of model will be successful going forward.

Square One Law was launched as a start-up in 2011 by experienced corporate partners, Ian Gilthorpe and Alan Fletcher. In the same way that companies have had to streamline their businesses and become more entrepreneurial to stay competitive, they saw an opportunity to create a leaner and more agile model and literally went back to square one.

Senior Partner, Ian Gilthorpe said, “This award is all thanks to our clients and the great projects we have been working on with them. I believe law firms in the future must focus on fully understanding their market, so they can spot the opportunities and totally focus on their service delivery. Many lawyers are very reactive and a proactive approach is what clients need in today’s challenging global marketplace.”

Alan Fletcher said: “Clients are becoming increasingly sophisticated legal purchasers and are, quite rightly, more demanding of their legal advisers. We need to offer a proactive and commercially aware service and you can only do this by investing time into fully understanding your clients businesses and the sectors in which they operate. Too many law firms just focus on the black letter law and don’t add the commercial viewpoint that the client wants.”

The firm has attracted very experienced lawyers and now has 10 partners and has built a highly motivated team and is recognised by its clients and business partners as a quality offering in the highly competitive, legal marketplace.

Ian Gilthorpe continued: “The ACQ 5 award is for the corporate work we have been doing and our team has been very active in 2013 on deals such as the Cleveland Bio management buy-out; advising Gateshead based PrismTech, on the sale of its OpenFusion CORBA assets to Micro Focus International plc – a FTSE 250 technology company; the corporate team successfully advised the interactive gaming group Netplay TV on the acquisition of Vernons.com which operates an online casino, bingo, poker and sports book; they have also successfully advised Synety Group plc on a secondary fund-raising by way of placing of ordinary shares on AIM and advised FlexPlus on the sale of their business to the $800m turnover technology, staffing and consulting services firm Corporate Resource Service Inc.”

Alan Fletcher said, “Our corporate team, headed by Jeremy Swift, has been very active, but we have also seen a great deal of activity from our energy team, led by James Bryce acting for major North East clients such as Able UK, Shepherd Offshore and Utilitywise plc and have advised on expanding UK electric vehicle infrastructure (Zero Carbon Futures).

“Our commercial property team partners, Simon Priestley and Barney Frith have been working for clients such as Shepherds, TDR and Vardy in the North East. Elsewhere they acted for Aker Solutions on its new headquarters site at Chiswick, which was recently opened by David Cameron. They advised London based Meaalofa Developments, on its purchase of the multi million pound Goresbrook Park industrial site in Dagenham (28 acres of land and 487,243 sq. ft. warehousing space and cold storage facilities) is acting for Landid Property Holdings on the refurbishment of Minerva House in Reading, Charter Place in Uxbridge and Thames Tower in Reading.

“Our employment and litigation teams led by Jean Pierre van Zyl and Gillian Hulls, respectively, are expanding as we continue to win more work from major North East businesses.

“Similarly our sports team is continuing to develop and now acts for a number of premiership footballers and international golfers.

“The pace of change has been extremely fast,” said Ian Gilthorpe, “After only two and a half years, Square One Law is developing a regional, national and international reputation. Alan and I had to show a compelling vision of how we could offer an alternative legal model and have been excited by the quality of people who have decided to join us. It makes a big difference having ambitious and like-minded people wanting to build something new and be part of a firm they can help drive forward.

“But as I said at the beginning, the main reason for our success is down to our clients who have been so supportive and wanted an alternative model. Many of them have been great ambassadors for us and we will continue to focus on strengthening those client relationships, because I believe it will be the professional advisers who invest in building that type of trust with their clients that will be the ones who will be successful going forward.”

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