Bristol-headquartered Burges Salmon is launching in Edinburgh with a trio of partner hires from Scotland’s leading independent law firms.
The top-50 UK law firm is opening the office in May with eight lawyers, led by the lateral hires of Shepherd and Wedderburn corporate finance partner Danny Lee, Brodies real estate partner Robert Forman, and Burness Paull planning partner Craig Whelton, who has previously worked at Burges Salmon.
They will be joined by Shepherd and Wedderburn corporate director Joanna Monaghan, Burness Paull senior real estate director Claire MacLean and planning solicitor Lynsey Reid. Burges Salmon real estate associates Lynette Purves and Emma Shearer will relocate from the firm’s Bristol office.
Burges Salmon managing partner Roger Bull told Legal Business the firm had identified the Scottish market as part of a new three-year strategy approved by the partnership last April. The firm already has a Scottish practice that operates from Bristol – a 20-lawyer team led by partner Euan Bremner – with clients including The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds, EDF Renewables and Waitrose.
Bull said its energy, financial services, infrastructure, real estate and public sector sectors all had client bases in Scotland, or opportunities for growth.
‘One of the key aspects that came out of our new strategy was having a UK-wide ability to service our client base,’ Bull said. ‘Our market research and talking to clients gave us the sense that in our key sectors, activity is pretty buoyant in Scotland.’
Bull added that the firm would look to expand its Scottish presence over the next couple of years but was yet to go to the market for further hires. There were no plans to open elsewhere at this stage.
‘Bristol, London and Edinburgh provides good triangulation in terms of coverage, so we’re looking at how we maximise opportunities coming from that structure.’
Bull became managing partner in May last year, replacing Peter Morris. Morris had been in the role since 2010, while Bull has been a partner at the firm since 2003, and previously served as head of employment.
Revenue at Burges Salmon rose 3% to £90m for the 2017/18 financial year, after being flat the previous period. However, turnover has grown more than 20% over the last five years.
Overall profit rose 2%, following an 8% dip last year, but PEP dropped to £430,000 from £435,000, following a more dramatic fall from £525,000 the year previous. The firm, which had 64 equity partners last year, has grown its partnership around 10% in the past three years.