COMMERCIAL law firm Square One Law has signed up two new partners to its employment team.
Since it launched last summer, the Jesmond-based firm's founding partners - Ian Gilthorpe, Alan Fletcher and Robin Winskell - have attracted five partners.
The most recent arrival is South African-born lawyer Jean-Pierre Van Zyl, who has moved from Newcastle firm Short Richardson Forth to head the employment team.
He will be joined by Liz Cotton from the Liverpool office of national Top 30 firm Hill Dickinson.
After working with a firm of London lawyers on arrival in the UK 11 years ago, Van Zyl arrived on Tyneside in 2005.
He said: "I was mightily impressed by Ian, Alan and Robin's wish to strike out on their own, their clear vision for how they saw their firm operating and what they wanted it to be.
"The thing that strikes me the most is the positive energy from colleagues, which is remarkable. This is one of the reasons I believe we are able to attract tremendous people to work for us.
"Attracting Liz to the North East is a major coup and is testament to the quality of work and clients we are attracting, and the positive energy that permeates throughout.
"She is a highly impressive lawyer and this is a wonderful opportunity for Liz. My aim is to recruit a third lawyer by the end of the financial year."
The employment team has recently handled tribunal work for a national retail chain with more than 8,000 staff.
Van Zyl said: "The cornerstone of Square One Law is the trust we have in each other - the trust to know we can refer our clients to our colleagues with absolute confidence.
"We are a firm of self-assured, experienced lawyers, a firm that has enough confidence in our ability and the ability of our colleagues to challenge and be challenged by each other."
The firm's clients include North East entrepreneur Sir Peter Vardy and Billingham-based Able UK. Cramlington-based Miller UK and Newcastle-based Shepherd Offshore are also clients as is North East entrepreneur Nigel Mills, founder of the Mills Group, and current chairman of The Entrepreneurs' Forum.
Just over a year after its launch, Square One is now up to almost 30 staff. New partner arrivals include Jeremy Swift (corporate and commercial), Simon Priestley and Barney Frith (property), and Stuart Hamilton (private client).
It aims to provide first-rate services for senior managers, executives, owner-managed businesses and multi-national commercial clients with many thousands of staff.
Senior partner Ian Gilthorpe said: "The creation of a new employment team headed by Jean-Pierre with Liz in support is a major milestone in our growth and development.
"We continue to attract a high quality group of people and have in place a leadership team with the drive, ambition and relevant strengths to take this firm forward and build upon our successful start."