Two leading figures at national firm Simpson Millar have departed to join a growing Yorkshire outfit.

Emma Pearmaine, who was director of family services, and ex-finance director Anthony Elston have both joined the board of directors of Huddersfield-based Ridley & Hall.

Their new firm has aspirations to double its £2.5m annual turnover by 2020 and increase its 60-strong headcount.

Simpson Millar has enjoyed a high-profile in recent years after being bought by listed company Fairpoint plc. But the share price plummeted in recent years and Fairpoint recently entered administration, leaving the legal business in the hands of financier Doorway Capital and under new management. The firm insists it is unaffected by the collapse of its former parent company.

Elston joins Ridley & Hall as its first finance director after six years with Simpson Millar.

‘Everyone talks of the opportunities available in legal services, and they are right – it is an exciting market to operate in,’ he said. ‘But it is also one which demands the right combination of confidence, ambition and prudence. The management team of Ridley & Hall has steered the firm into a sensible and strong position for growth and I very much look forward to keeping it on that course for many years to come.’

Adam Fletcher, managing director, added: ‘We have now turned our attention towards driving further growth through strategic acquisitions and recruitment of further key individuals.’

Meanwhile, another Yorkshire firm has predicted rapid expansion after it secured an alternative business structure.

Criminal law specialist Wilford Smith is based in Rotherham but plans to open two offices in Sheffield in October and has earmarked further expansion into Doncaster and Barnsley soon after.

The firm, which employs 25 people, has London-based clients and wants a presence in the capital in 2018, although details have not yet been finalised.

The growth will be organic but the firm says it will ‘engage with other firms as and when the opportunity arises and the fit is right.’

Founder and senior partner Stephen Smith MBE said: ‘We are future-proofing the firm as an ABS and are already expanding our services to meet the demand from clients who need more multi-faceted advice.’