Revenue at private equity-backed north-west firm Knights grew 28% to £12m in 2013/14 – with the rise attributed to the firm’s first full year as an alternative business structure (ABS).

The firm became an ABS in January 2013 after receiving private equity from former Dragon’s Den investor James Caan (pictured) through his company Hamilton Bradshaw. Knights used the capital to buy out its former partners.

The increase in revenue was due to a recruitment drive of 65 lawyers over that period, bringing total headcount up to 130.

The firm intends to recruit another 60 lawyers this financial year and hopes to grow revenue by a further 30%.

In 2013 revenue grew by 2.5% to £9.4m compared with 2012, according to the firm’s Companies House filings. The Gazette asked for details of profit figures but was told that the firm is not disclosing these at the moment.

Chief executive David Beech said the growth in turnover was a direct consequence of the ABS, which he says provided it with the flexibility to double headcount.

‘Under a partnership model we would not have been able to do that as there would have been too much politics – it would have been too slow and risk-averse. The partnership model is out of date and not fit for purpose.’

A non-equity model also has the advantage of attracting talented young people as they are more likely to be rewarded based on their merit, he said.

Over the year the company invested £1m in IT systems and office refurbishments. Beech said real estate, corporate, commercial, litigation, employment, town planning and construction were big areas of growth for the firm.

He said the firm was actively seeking to acquire teams of lawyers within the north-west region.

Details of the private equity deal with Hamilton Bradshaw remain undisclosed.