Law firm announces financial results and senior hires as part of its nationwide growth plans

Mike Morrice and Gary Hunt (Ledingham Chalmers)

SCOTTISH independent law firm Ledingham Chalmers has filled three senior roles in Aberdeen and Edinburgh as part of its nationwide growth plans.

The news comes the same day as the full-service firm announces its 2022/23 financial results — recording the highest turnover since becoming an LLP in 2006.

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Meanwhile, its headcount has grown by just over 25% since April 2022, exceeding 200 for the first time. 

Partner Mike Morrice joined the commercial property team in Aberdeen in October from Burness Paull, and Gary Hunt came on board in November as Head of HR, also in Aberdeen. Mr Hunt has around 25 years’ HR experience in the energy sector.

Another senior hire, Edinburgh-based Coral Bain, came on board in the newly created pan-Scotland head of risk and compliance role in October, overseeing aspects such as Law Society of Scotland standards and regulations, anti-money laundering (AML) rules and data protection.

Coming from Addleshaw Goddard, she is a qualified solicitor with specialist experience in construction and engineering disputes as well as in professional regulatory risk, ethics, and governance.

Financial detail

Ledingham Chalmers’ turnover for 2022/23 was £13.4million, its highest since becoming a limited liability partnership (LLP) in 2006.

Group turnover, including subsidiary Ledingham Chalmers Financial, was £14.2million, compared with £13.6million in 2021/22. Pre-tax profit was slightly down on the year before — £3.5million compared with £4million.

Managing partner, Jennifer Young, said much of the difference in profit is due to investment in its fast-growing workforce combined with factors affecting all businesses such as inflation and higher operating overheads. 

Mrs Young said: “All that means we’re not wedded to the numbers we outlined in 2019 to double turnover to £25million by 2025.

 “We’re operating in a competitive post-pandemic marketplace for attracting and retaining talent — and we’re investing in a fast-growing workforce. We continue to benchmark salaries as part of our long-term sustainable growth strategy.”

The firm also allocated just under £280,000 in non-contractual bonuses in the last financial year, including through its performance related pay scheme.

Headcount and hires

Since January 2023, 31 people have joined the firm, which has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness, and Stirling.

The firm’s headcount on 31 October 2023 was 210 (compared with 166 in April 2022), including 27 partners, with a further five people set to join before the end of November. Recruitment is also underway for five posts: four lawyers and a paralegal.

Other recent senior hires include in the firm’s pan-Scotland rural team, with senior associate Lynne McElroy joining in Stirling and associate Anna Moir coming on board in Aberdeen this summer, while senior associate Laura Hay joined the Granite City’s commercial property team at the start of November.

Also in Stirling, and as part of Ledingham Chalmers’ plans to broaden its legal offering there, senior associate Suzie Falconer joined in January in the private client team, advising clients on all aspects of succession planning, powers of attorney and estate administration.

In Inverness, the headcount has grown by more than 30 since last November, including 19 colleagues who joined when Ledingham Chalmers acquired Anderson Shaw & Gilbert.

External recognition

The firm is consistently ranked in legal directories and in the 2024 Legal 500 and Chambers UK 2024 18 people and seven disciplines were recognised: corporate and commercial, employment, personal injury — defender, agriculture and rural affairs, construction, commercial property, and insolvency and corporate recovery.

Rural partner Hazel Moir was shortlisted for Private Client Lawyer of the Year at the inaugural Legal 500 Scotland awards event this month and Mrs Young was recently named Managing Partner of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards.

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