Vale of Belvoir lawyer chosen to lead dispute platform relocation

Tom Watkinson who will head up Escalate's Midlands office.
Tom Watkinson who will head up Escalate's Midlands office.
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Two businesses in the Vale of Belvoir have sought the help of a new commercial dispute resolution platform just weeks after its move to the county.

The creation of a Midlands office for London-based Escalate is being spearheaded by Vale of Belvoir lawyer and businessman Tom Watkinson.

He said: “We are still looking for a permanent base but in the first two weeks two businesses from the Vale of Belvoir have sought our help in property disputes.”

Escalate seeks to remove the financial risk and uncertainty for firms pursuing disputed debts of between £50,000 and £500,000.

It removes the need for up front payments, provides the expertise needed to resolve the dispute and looks to get a settlement within six months. Currently most disputed debts take up to 18 months to resolve. Its fees are a third of the recovered debt.

Mr Watkinson, of Stathern, who is Escalate’s head of Midlands, said: “I expect there will be a sizeable demand for our services from businesses in Melton and the county.

“This is an exciting time to be joining Escalate. The business is growing rapidly and is committed to investing in the Midlands.

Mr Watkinson said Escalate would probably have offices in Market Harborough with about four staff.

He said: “There are thousands of small and medium sized enterprises in our region that could benefit from using Escalate, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

Mr Watkinson joins from Knights Solicitors in Derby, where he was a partner responsible for litigation, insolvency and business development. He was previously managing director at Leicester-based Raynsway Commercial Property Investment and a partner at law firm Roythornes in Nottingham.

Chris Clay, of Market Harborough, who is managing director and one of the founders of Escalate, said: “Escalate is growing rapidly so it makes sense to bring on board a big hitter like Tom to help us realise our expansion plans. He will help us to develop partnerships with other leading professional advisers in the Midlands.”

“We’re seeing considerable demand from businesses in the Midlands for the Escalate process, which is not surprising given that the traditional dispute resolution model is broken and heavily stacked against claimants.”