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He took the high road: Brodies ushers in next generation as veteran leader Drummond steps down

Hyperbole and cliché over the end of an era can be justifiably deployed this morning (5 January) with news that Brodies’ figurehead Bill Drummond is to step down in April after 20 years as managing partner of the Scottish firm he joined as a trainee in 1980.

Drummond (pictured) will make way for current real estate head Nick Scott, representing a handover to a younger generation of leadership after a hugely successful run that has seen Brodies emerge as the most successful independent Scottish firm. After driving some phenomenal financial growth as managing partner, Drummond’s immediate plans include taking a break and spending time with family.

Scott – who was chosen following an election process that took place last summer – trained with Clifford Chance before joining Brodies in 1999 and becoming a partner in 2001.  He has been a member of the firm’s strategic and operational boards since 2004 and head of the real estate practice since 2010. Last year he represented Brodies at our Legal Business 100 round table, which brings together management figures from the leading firms in our annual survey.

Scott takes the helm of a firm that under Drummond’s leadership is one of the fastest-growing firms in the UK for organic revenue growth over the past ten years, growing 122% from £30m to £66.7m between 2007 and 2017. During that period and since his appointment as managing partner in 1997, Drummond has established himself as the most successful Scottish law firm leader. Brodies was named National/Regional Law Firm of the Year at the Legal Business Awards in 2017, an award that the firm also won in 2015, and has also been shortlisted for the title an additional four times since 2010. Drummond himself was named Management Partner of the Year in 2013.

Scott said: ‘I have worked closely with Bill for over a decade.  It is therefore with pride, and an appropriate degree of humility, that I take on this new role within our firm.  My immediate priority will be to focus on the things which have earned this firm its reputation under Bill’s leadership.’

Brodies’ chairman, Christine O’Neill, added:  ‘In overseeing our election process this summer our board has been keen to ensure that Bill’s successor as our managing partner retained the same ambition for our clients and our people that Bill has brought to every board and partners’ meeting for the past 20 years. Nick has that same approach and his extensive involvement in our strategic and operational management, coupled with his track record of success for clients and development of partners and staff made him the ideal candidate.’

Scott’s key challenge will be maintaining Brodies recent momentum – the influx of UK and international firms into Scotland in recent years has made the market more competitive as former domestic rivals have been taken over by bigger firms with larger resources.  Revenue growth, while at 56% for the last five years, finally slowed to 2% in 2016/17, while PEP fell by the same amount.