Square One Law looks to the future
As Square One Law celebrates its third anniversary, founding partners Ian Gilthorpe and Alan Fletcher welcome new consultant, Andrew Hoyle to the firm and reflect on the firm’s rapid growth and development.
Three years ago, Ian Gilthorpe and Alan Fletcher saw an opportunity to create a new type of commercial law firm, which would change the legal marketplace in the north east for the benefit of commercial clients.
“We have received fantastic support for our new business from the business community and this has led to rapid growth over the first three years. This year we grew by 70% and now have 10 partners with many opportunities to further develop our business,” said senior partner, Ian Gilthorpe.
“When Alan and I wrote the business plan for the first three years I don’t think either of us envisaged that we would grow as fast and be able to attract the quality of clients that we now have the pleasure of working with.”
Alan Fletcher, managing partner continued, ”For the firm to develop its full potential we always knew that we had to attract experienced lawyers with the talent and drive to contribute to our success, and we are delighted that so many quality lawyers have joined us.
“We now have the critical mass to handle significant projects and to support companies across a broad range of legal work. The next stage is to continue to build our business strategically which is one of the reasons why we are delighted to announce the appointment of Andrew Hoyle as a consultant, as his extensive experience of working at a senior level in several leading law firms will make a significant contribution.”
Andrew Hoyle commented, “Square One Law has established itself as an innovative force in the north east legal scene and I like the fact it is challenging the status quo. I’m looking forward to assisting the team with their ambitious development plans.”
Ian Gilthorpe said, ”We have got a great team and everyone at the firm appreciates that our growth and success has been completely due to the willingness of our clients to work with us and trust us to deliver the service in a relevant and commercial way on each and every occasion.
“The corporate team at Square One Law has seen considerable activity in the past year and some examples include: the acquisition of St Martin’s Care Home Group; advising AIM listed Synety Group plc on a fund raising; acting for Gateshead based PrismTech on the sale of its OpenFusion CORBA assets, advising the Teesside management buy-out team at Cleveland Biotech and more recently supporting Chirton Engineering in a deal with agriculture, food and engineering group, Carr’s Milling Industries.
Alan explained, “We’ve focussed on several key sectors in the region such as energy, education, manufacturing and technology.
“Our energy team, led by partner James Bryce, has been successful working with companies across the full remit: power generators, renewables, offshore, decommissioning, supply chain and emerging technologies and in May the energy team helped South Shields based, Utilitywise plc, with their first European acquisition in the Czech Republic which provides Utilitywise with a European footprint from which to expand their services in Europe.”
Square One Law’s property team led by partner, Barney Frith has been working on large projects both in the region and in London. Some examples include: Highbridge Properties plc (owners of the Cobalt business park) – on the creation of a new industrial site, Indigo Park which has the capacity to generate more than 1,000 jobs; with North East training provider, TDR, in its acquisition of a 40,000 sq.ft. property at Quorum Business Park as the company’s new headquarters; with Aker Solutions on taking a lease of the entire 220,000 sq.ft. of Building 6 at Chiswick Park, London, being one of the largest pre-lets in the London market since 2007 and with London based developer Landid on a number of high profile schemes and most recently on the £20m acquisition of Gorsebrook Industrial Park, Dagenham and the subsequent letting of the whole site to Eddie Stobart Ltd.
Ian continued, “Our employment team led by partner Jean-Pierre van Zyl is now well established, acting for clients like Esso, Piramal and Newcastle Building Society and we are delighted to welcome JP as an equity partner this year, highlighting the success and contribution he has made to the business in building a vibrant employment team from scratch.
“Our personal business and litigation teams have also grown considerably based on high quality work and clients and our sports team, headed by Robin Winskell, not only acts for a number of high profile premier league footballers, but more recently has attracted several professional golfers to the firm, including two former US Masters winners.
Ian added “The great advantage of being a start-up is the energy and drive that comes from the whole team; this is a new start for everyone. We have focussed our brand so it is all about demonstrating commitment, drive and commercial acumen.
“We had a great start in 2011 as we were extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with significant companies like Able UK, Shepherd Offshore, Vardy Group, Tharsus and Lanchester Wines from the beginning.”
Andrew Hoyle concluded “All in all Square One Law has embraced change and is well placed going forward to take advantage of the continuing opportunities that are arising as the market picks up and I look forward to assisting the team with their ambitious development plans”