Legal Business

Energy perspectives: David Bone

What made you decide to become a lawyer and, once you’d made that decision, why energy?

I decided to become a lawyer in my early teens, through watching courtroom dramas on TV. As it turned out, however, I have only appeared in court once and that was sitting on the bench (another story!). Becoming a renewable energy lawyer was somewhat fortuitous. I had been doing fairly high-value commercial property work for a number of years, and a developer who had worked on early wind farms in Cornwall and Wales wanted to try and develop the first ones in Scotland. He asked his English lawyer who to use and they recommended a large Scottish law firm. After a short period, the developer decided that firm wasn’t showing enough interest in his work so turned to someone in Scotland he had done a joint venture with and asked him. I was that company’s lawyer and I was recommended. The developer made an appointment, ca+me into my office and asked (this was 1993) if I knew anything about wind farms. Being honest, I said no. He then asked if I would be interested in learning, and I said it sounded fascinating. The rest is history and 30 years on I am still learning!

Legal Business

Harper Macleod merges with Bird Semple to create top 100 firm


Scottish firm Harper Macleod, the legal advisor to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, has expanded by merging with private client boutique Bird Semple to create a firm with a combined turnover of more than £23m.

The move will formalise on 1 September under the Harper Macleod banner, with 35 partners, lawyers and staff transferring to the firm’s Glasgow headquarters to create one of Scotland’s largest private client practices. The combination will result in a 59-partner firm, five of whom arrive from Bird Semple.  

Bird Semple, which last year recorded turnover of £2.1m, currently provides asset and wealth management advice to private clients in the business and professional communities, specialising in family wealth and personal tax. The firm, whose name can be traced back to 1845, became a specialist boutique after the corporate practice split to become part of DLA Piper in 2000.

The merger means Harper Macleod will have 153 lawyers and become one of the 100 largest law firms in the UK by revenue.

Professor Lorne Crerar, chairman of Harper Macleod, said: ‘This is one of the most significant developments in our firm’s history, and yet another statement of our ambition to make Harper Macleod the leading law firm in the country.

‘We’ve seen increasing demand from our clients for sophisticated legal services for individuals and their families, particularly relating to asset and wealth management. Bird Semple operate in different sectors and provide advice in different areas to those of our existing private client offering.’

Frank Fletcher, managing partner of Bird Semple, said: ‘The last few years have ushered in a period of significant change in the legal profession. Looking to the future, we believe that the interests of our clients are best served by combining our own specialist expertise with that of colleagues in another strong and successful firm in Scotland.’