Legal Business Blogs

Scottish stalwart McClure Naismith looks for merger as it ‘lacks the scale needed to compete’

One of Scotland’s oldest commercial legal practices, the Glasgow-based McClure Naismith, is looking for a white knight merger as it reviews its options after finding the firm ‘lacks the scale needed to compete’.

According to the firm’s executive chairman Robin Shannan, McClures is seeking a tie-up due to consolidation in the UK market making it hard for the firm to compete. In an interview with The Sunday Herald last Sunday (16 August), Shannan said McClures ‘had not been enjoying the easiest of times in recent months.’

He also added that the firm’s 26 partners were ‘looking to take as much of the firm to one destination as we can’ but according to the Herald would not rule out the possibility that the business could be broken up.

A number of firms, including fellow Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens (MMS) are thought to be in talks with partners from McClures. A spokesperson from MMS said: ‘We keep in contact with others in the market from time to time, as you might expect, but clearly it wouldn’t be appropriate to pass comment on other firms.’

A spokesperson for McClures refused to comment on rumours that it was preparing to go into administration, however in a statement Shannan said: ‘We have been reviewing the way forward for the business for some time now, and have previously stated that we will consider all options, including merger. The legal market is consolidating with the emergence of large, UK-wide multi-disciplinary firms and smaller, specialist practices.’

He continued: ‘We have very good lawyers and support staff providing excellent services to a wide range of clients but we are finding that medium-sized, independent firms such as ours lack the scale needed to compete. Accordingly, we have been working on developing the most effective strategy for the business, our clients and staff. The review remains a work in progress, and in the meantime it is very much business as usual’.