Burness Paull posts annual turnover up 7% to £57.6m

Peter Lawson
Peter Lawson

Commercial law firm Burness Paull LLP has posted an annual turnover of £57.6M – up 7% from £53.8M the previous yea with profits of £23.8M – up 8% from £22M on 2016/17 – and as a result all eligible employees will receive a bonus of 5%.

Commenting on the results, Burness Paull chairman Peter Lawson said: “We have delivered an excellent financial performance in what has been a choppy year for the Scottish economy. There will undoubtedly be more challenges to come as a result of the uncertain political and economic backdrop. However, there will also be opportunities for those who are prepared to be bold and adapt.”

The firm, which was named the most active dealmaker in Scotland for the third consecutive year, has a three-year strategy aimed at delivering growth across its Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow offices, working with clients across Scotland, the UK and internationally. Over the past 12 months the firm has seen an increase in instructions across most sectors, with energy, technology and international business the key drivers.

Mr Lawson explained, “Scotland continues to produce exciting, dynamic businesses. Our international clients also tell us it is a cracking place to do business and is increasingly attractive for inward investment – more so than any region outwith London. Our future-facing global strategy involves a constant flow of focused trade missions.  Every week we have boots on the ground in our key territories of US, China, Norway, Canada, India, Germany and Israel, which gives us genuine intimacy with those markets.

“These excellent results support our strategy of combining in-market focus with global reach.  Clients want to work with market-leading specialists, who are regularly transacting across the jurisdictions they operate in, to form cutting-edge partnerships. That’s our sweet spot.”

The success of the firm’s international drive has been underlined by the growing number of mandates from outside the UK. A significant contributor has been the firm’s recent appointment as the sole Scottish representative in Lex Mundi, the world’s leading network of independent law firms, which has helped the firm win a 30% increase in international instructions over the past year.

In response to the increase in new business headcount at the firm grew by almost 5% over the past 12 months, with 23 new members of staff taking the overall number of employees to 505 – of which 317 are lawyers.

“The speed of change in the legal sector has never been greater. Growth will come from our agility in developing our service lines to support the changing needs of our clients both here and internationally. In particular, we anticipate further increased activity in energy, technology and international business,” continued Mr. Lawson.

“A principle of service excellence is at the core of our client engagement and we have invested heavily in people and our systems to support this, deepening our talent pool and creating operational efficiencies. A string of awards for our IP, Tech and Employment practices underlines that the strategy is paying off.” 

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