Legal Business

Clydes misses out as Eversheds and Burness Paull take away places on Yum! panel

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Eversheds and Burness Paull have won places on Yum! Brands slimmed down legal panel, with Clyde & Co missing out on reappointment.

Sarah Nelson Smith, general counsel (GC) (pictured) for the company behind KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has trimmed its legal panel from nine in its latest panel review. Squire Patton Boggs, Whiting & Purches and Wright Hassall have both retained their places on the legal panel, with Yum! Brands introducing TLT to the list.

Alongside Clyde & Co, Howard Kennedy, Collins Dryland & Thorowgood, which advised on real estate work, and Leeds firm Woods Whur which had advised on licensing work, have not been reappointed to the panel.

Panel firms have been assigned for a two year period, the same time frame as the last Yum! Brands panel which was appointed in 2014.

GC Nelson Smith oversees more than 1,500 stores in the UK with a team of just three lawyers and has led on several initiatives for the company, including the recent trial of acquiring licenses to sell alcohol from a number of Pizza Hut delivery stores. She joined Yum! Brands in 2011, having been trained at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and having also worked at US firm Baker Botts.

In other recent panel appointments, Pinsent Masons won a place on FTSE 100 firm Land Securities’ legal panel, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has come off the roster following a review and Eversheds, Reed Smith, Dentons and K&L Gates have landed spots on a seven-firm global panel created by US car rental giant Avis.

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

 

 

Legal Business

‘In control of our own destiny’: Burness Paull staff get 7.5% bonus as firm posts double-digit revenue and profit growth

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As McClure Naismith reveals its difficulties in the Scottish market today (20 August), Burness Paull has shown it is not all doom and gloom for independent Scottish firms by posting double-digit growth in both turnover and profits, with revenues increasing by 11% to £51.3m and profits up 12% to £23.2m.

The firm said the figures reflected a successful 2014/15 financial year in which all its key sectors – corporate Scotland, financial, oil and gas, and property and infrastructure performed well. Given the performance, the firm is also handing out a 7.5% bonus to all employees.

Standout corporate deals for Burness Paull included advising Standard Life’s financial advice business on its acquisition of Pearson Jones from Skipton Building Society that brought in assets under advice of £1.1bn. In the oil and gas sector, the firm advised exploration and production business Dea on its £7.6bn joint venture with BP in the West Nile Delta.

Commenting on the results, Burness Paull’s chairman Philip Rodney said the performance of the firm since its merger with Paull Williamsons in December 2012 had far exceeded the targets set.

‘In particular our turnover since merger has increased from £37.6mto £51.3m – a rise of 36%’, said Rodney. ‘We have been able to achieve our objective of being one of Scotland’s leading commercial law firms while remaining independent and in control of our own destiny.’

‘With a successful 2014/2015 behind us and the transitional phase completed, the focus now turns to implementing our Dynamic Growth plan. This will see significant recruitment, including senior lateral hires together with increased profile and business in our key international markets, North America and Norway.’

Last year Burness Paull awarded a 10% bonus to all eligible employees across the firm’s three offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow following another strong set of results which saw a 20% rise in turnover to £46.3m and a 25% increase in profit to £20.7m.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Scottish firms: Burness Paull awards staff 10% bonus while Shepherd and Wedderburn grows construction team

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Scottish firm Burness Paull is awarding a 10% bonus to all its eligible employees across the firm’s three offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow following a strong set of annual results which saw a 20% rise in turnover and a 25% increase in profit.

Chairman Philip Rodney said: ‘Our excellent annual results, which exceeded all expectations, have been achieved through the hard work, professionalism and commitment of our staff. In recognition of this and of their continued efforts, we are delighted to be in a position to award a 10% bonus to say thank you.

‘Already we are looking to the future and have ambitious plans in place which will see us focus on three increasingly important sectors – oil and gas, financial services and property and infrastructure – and growing our international presence. Our dynamic and talented team will play an integral role in Burness Paull achieving its aspirations, so it is right that they should be recognised and rewarded in this small way.’

The award follows the announcement of encouraging financial results as the firm posted a hefty 20% turnover increase to £46.3m while profits rose to £20.7m from £16.5m, constituting a 25% increase. The firm was named National/Regional Firm of the Year at the Legal Business Awards in February with highlight work including advising FTSE 250 company Wood Group on all UK employment related services such as pensions and employment tribunal matters.

The firm was formed in 2012 following the union of Burness in Edinburgh and Glasgow and Aberdeen’s Paull & Williamsons.

In other news across the Scottish border, Shepherd and Wedderburn has added partner Gareth Parry to its construction and special projects practice with an eye to growing further. Parry joins with 24 years’ experience in private practice at McGrigors and DLA Piper, where he was a partner and headed construction teams for 14 and three years respectively. He specialises in major energy, regeneration and infrastructure projects, both in the UK and overseas.

Shepherd and Wedderburn chief executive, Stephen Gibb said: ‘His [Parry’s] technical expertise and extensive knowledge of construction and large scale projects, particularly in the energy sector, will further strengthen our market-leading credentials in successfully advising clients in these areas.

‘In the last 12 months the construction and projects practice, has experienced tremendous growth across a wide range of sectors advising on projects worth over £2.6bn. The team has advised on many major energy and infrastructure projects throughout the UK and beyond ranging from numerous office, industrial, retail and leisure projects as well as new hydro projects, hospitals, colleges, wave and tidal projects, wind farms, light rail, bridges and waste schemes.’

He added that the firm is looking to grow the team further on the back of winning new mandates and projects.

Jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Financial results 2013/14: Burness Paull posts 20% revenue increase alongside 25% profit rise

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Scottish firm Burness Paull is the latest to release its 2013/14 financial results and has today (7 July) announced a hefty 20% turnover increase to £46.3m while profits have risen to £20.7m from £16.5m, constituting a 25% increase.

The firm said the positive figures reflect growth across all divisions while international work now accounts for more than 20% of business.

Chairman Philip Rodney said: ‘This is an excellent set of results and reflects the commitment of an incredibly dynamic and talented team. Oil and gas, financial services and property and infrastructure are increasingly important sectors for us. We aim to have unrivalled firepower in each.’

‘This is a rapidly changing market. We always have to look forwards, working with our clients and anticipating their future requirements. Our clients define our business strategy and service agenda, not us.’

‘At the time of our merger, we aspired to be the best commercial law firm operating in Scotland. Our international ambition now means we want to be the best commercial law firm operating from Scotland.’

With growth that contrasts starkly with the fortunes of the traditionally elite Scottish firms in recent years, the firm was formed in 2012 following the union of Burness in Edinburgh and Glasgow and Aberdeen’s Paull & Williamsons. Last year it recorded a turnover of £38.7m, up 59% on legacy firm Burness’ turnover in 2012 of £24.3m. The firm also rebranded as Burness Paull, dropping the Williamsons part of its post-merger name.

The firm was this year named National/Regional Firm of the Year at the Legal Business Awards in February. Highlight work included advising FTSE 250 company Wood Group on all UK employment related services such as pensions and employment tribunal matters. The firm also invested in lateral hires and last November poached two pensions partners, Martha Quinn and Mark Lindsay, from fellow Scots firm Brodies.

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Financial results 2013: Burness Paull (minus the Williamsons) outstrips Scottish rivals with post-merger results

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In the first few months since its eye-catching merger at the beginning of December last year, Burness Paull has climbed the ranks to post revenue and profit growth that contrasts starkly with the fortunes of the traditionally elite Scottish firms in recent years.

The 57-partner firm, formed following the union of Burness in Edinburgh and Glasgow and Aberdeen’s Paull & Williamsons, recorded a turnover of £38.7m, up 59% on legacy firm Burness’ turnover last year of £24.3m. The firm has also rebranded as Burness Paull, dropping the Williamsons part of its post-merger name.

In a statement, the firm said that extrapolating turnover for the full financial year and not just the period post-merger brings out an annualised figure of £38.7m. This translates into an increase in turnover of 3.2% as compared with the combined figures of the two heritage firms for their respective previous years’ trading.

This figure now places Burness Paull as the fourth largest independent Scottish firm by revenue, after Dundas & Wilson, Brodies and Maclay Murray & Spens, and not counting McGrigors, which merged into Pinsent Masons last summer.

Burness Paull also showed that it remains one of Scotland’s most profitable firms, with net profit up 55% to £15.8m, equating to a profit margin of 41%. Inevitably, profit per lawyer is down 43% – due to a significant increase headcount following the merger equating to 168% – and now stands at £43,000. Profit per equity partner is also down 7% from Burness’ solo figure last year, from £370,000 to £343,000.

Philip Rodney, chairman of Burness Paull said: ‘We are pleased with our figures for the year which are in line with our expectations. In a difficult market, where unfortunately many of our peers have slipped back, it is satisfying to see growth in our turnover.’

‘The reduction in profit was budgeted for and reflects the one off costs of our merger. Getting the merger right from the outset, and building a platform for the future was our first priority. Our investment in modern office accommodation and an IT infrastructure across all three offices will provide us with capacity for our longer term strategy.’

‘We are planning for increased growth in 2013/14 and with the synergies generated by the merger coming through, we anticipate an increase in our profits too.’

‘The positive impact of the merger is being seen in many ways that we anticipated. One example is the substantial increase in FTSE 350 clients who have instructed the firm for the first time or developed their relationships since the merger. We are confident going into the new financial year that the merged firm will continue on its planned upward trajectory.’

The firm’s performance is akin to that of its main rival Brodies, which has shared Burness’ successful strategy of focusing being a leading legal services provider to Scottish clients, having seen the cost of expanding south of the border taking its toll on the traditional ‘big four’ Scottish firms – Dundas, Maclays, McGrigors and Shepherd and Wedderburn. Last month Brodies posted revenue growth for the third year in a row, although purely through organic growth. Turnover was up 7.5% to £46m, up on £42.8m last financial year. The firm has credited the successful implementation of the second year of its three-year strategic plan, following on from a revenue increase of 16% in 2011/12, up from £36.9m.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s most storied firms have struggled yet again, with Maclays’ revenues down 13% and PEP down 22%. Dundas did not fare much better – a double-digit fall in revenue for the second successive year combined with a 22% drop in PEP. Shepherd and Wedderburn has proven to be the most resilient of these three: last month it reported a less dramatic 3% decline in turnover for 2012/13, while PEP was down 4%.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Consolidation changes the face of Scottish elite again

At the end of a dramatic year for the Scottish legal market, the recently announced union between Glasgow and Edinburgh star Burness and one of Aberdeen’s strongest firms, Paull & Williamsons, looks set to redefine the Caledonian top-tier.

The merger, which was announced last month and takes effect on 1 December, will see the two firms combine to form Burness Paull & Williamsons, a firm with 400 staff, including 60 partners and 158 fee-earners. The Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow offices will each be roughly the same size. Combined revenues based on 2011/12 figures will be around £37.6m, which will place the new entity ahead of Big Four firm Shepherd and Wedderburn and just behind local rival Brodies.