A SOLICITORS firm, which started life based in its founders home, has unveiled major expansion plans.

Newtons Solicitors, whose wider group of Hodgson and Mortimer Solicitors have offices in Darlington, Richmond, has become one of the first in North Yorkshire to gain alternative business structure status (ABS) from regulatory body the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The firm, which also has offices in York and Ripon, employs more than 50 workers and has a turnover of £2m, and says it will bring in non-lawyers to help continue its growth.

Chris Newton, managing director, founded the firm with his wife and fellow director, Sarah, in 2009, and said ABS status will allow it to expand across the UK.

He said: “Gaining an ABS license is about running our group as an efficient commercial enterprise as we recognise that the best business people and managers are not necessarily qualified solicitors.

“Now we have ABS in place, we plan to recruit a professional finance director and, in time, an experienced managing director.

“Heather Johnson will also join the board of directors after helping build Newtons seven-solicitor strong property team.

“ABS removes the barriers which could hinder our growth and enables us to better compete with larger organisations which we see entering the legal market.

“An expansion into London and further into the North-East is on our business agenda together with eight new senior solicitors on the immediate horizon.

“I can see us reaching £3m turnover, but would like to achieve £5m and believe ABS will be crucial in achieving that.”