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Bucking the trend: Shepherd and Wedderburn to re-enter Aberdeen with Pinsents hire

Despite predictions of doom and gloom around Aberdeen and its oil and gas offering, Scottish LB100 firm Shepherd and Wedderburn is bucking the trend and will re-enter the market with the recent hire of Pinsent Masons‘ John Rutherford as a consultant.

The firm first opened the office in the mid-2000s and had between 12 and 15 people when the office was closed and the firm moved to a serviced offering in 2011. Rutherford is recommended by The Legal 500 and was a corporate finance partner who specialises in oil and gas. He had been a partner at Pinsents for three years, and prior to that was head of corporate at legacy firm McGrigors.

Any move into Aberdeen in the current climate may seem counterproductive, however Shepherd and Wedderburn chief executive Stephen Gibb told Legal Business that it is the right time to re-enter the market.

‘It is a tough market in Aberdeen but having been in Aberdeen during the boom years and pulled back – we struggled to recruit. Now we can actually go and speak to people who might not have spoken to us a while back. We reckon going back in now with the right level of presence and being configured for the new normal in Aberdeen we can make a good fist of it.’

Gibb (pictured) is hoping to make a wider play than just oil and gas in Aberdeen, by expanding the office to cover the private client and rural market in the North East. This is also bolstered by the people the firm took on from Tods Murray which doubled the firm’s existing private client offering and added capability in rural.

He added: ‘When we did the Tods deal we also brought in a really good rural team which complements our renewables people. Couple that with the offshore wind specialism that we already had in the oil and gas team.’

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s acquisition of Tods Murray in October 2014 has paid dividends for the firm, which posted a revenue increase of 26%, from £38m in 2014/15 to £48m in the year to 30 April 2015.

Shepherd and Wedderburn acquired the business and assets of 158-year old Tods Murray out of administration following the latter’s falling revenues and exposure to volatile property and finance markets. It managed to migrate the offices over without making compulsory redundancies in December 2015.