A LAW firm founded from home in the depths of the recession has bucked the economic trend after increasing staff numbers and turning over £2m in just four years.

Newtons Solicitors has grown to six offices, including two at Hodgsons and Mortimer, in Darlington and Richmond, North Yorkshire.

The company, founded by Chris Newton, is now turning over £2m, though he says he hopes to see that figure rise to £5m.

He said: “I had sleepless nights and talked it through with several people before deciding to set up my own business.

“Some advised me to be careful about what I was leaving but I didn’t want to look back and wonder what may have happened.”

After 12 years with an established law firm, where he was an equity partner, Mr Newton set up Newtons believing he could bill £5,000 in his first month.

However, that figure was actually £16,000, quickly rising to £18,000 the next month, and has continued to increase.

He recruited his old team, and Newtons Solicitors became a specialist litigation practice, as as non-litigation work was referred elsewhere, Mr Newton recruited more lawyers to take it on.

He said: “I realised the volume of work we were turning away represented fees we could earn with the right lawyers but, more importantly, I was concerned that after introducing our clients to other practices, they may forget that we were their litigation team.”

The firm's growth saw nine members of staff moved into new offices in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, after the first year, and Newtons now has other bases across the county in Harrogate, Ripon and York.

Last year, a mutual client introduced Mr Newton to Hodgsons and Mortimer and a deal was secured with the view of re-branding it as Newtons.

He said: “We have found that having one person in overall control of the practice has paid dividends.

“This is largely due to the speed of decision making as, in this economic climate, opportunities have to be leapt on and the usual partnership approach is far more cumbersome.

“This was something I had to do and it has been a great success, but there has been a lot of hard work and stress.

“This business is all about relationships, we have some excellent people working with us and I couldn’t have done this on my own.”