ABERDEEN-headquartered Scottish law firm Ledingham Chalmers has reported increased profits and announced it will invest a six-figure sum over the next 12 months as part of its growth strategy to double revenue to £25million by 2025.
For the 2020/2021 financial year, group profit (including subsidiary Ledingham Chalmers Financial) was £4million, compared with £3.6million and £3.5million in the previous two reporting periods.
Group turnover was down slightly — £12.3million compared with £12.7million and £12.1million in 2019/2020 and 2018/2019 respectively.
Managing partner, Jennifer Young, said: “Reading or watching anything over the past 18 months you’d be hard pressed to miss words and phrases like ‘unprecedented’ and ‘year like no other’. That meant the process of making predictions for our business at the start of the pandemic was all-the-more complex.
“What we could see coming though was the effort and commitment from colleagues across all our offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Stirling, which resulted in a strong performance across the board.”
She said to reflect this, the firm has allocated a £150,000 COVID-19 pot which has been shared among all those employed by Ledingham Chalmers as at 31 March, 2021: a payment of £1,250 for someone working full-time hours.
In terms of the six-figure investment, she added: “The pandemic has permanently changed the way we work and support our clients, so we have to adapt quickly and effectively to respond.
“For example, as well as updating our financial management system and processes, we are spending more on our external presence and internal communications. This includes our website, a new intranet as well as our virtual conferencing facilities, not least because hybrid working and virtual court hearings, certainly for civil proceedings, are here for the long term.”
When it comes to hybrid working, a quarter (27%) of its people have agreed arrangements in place.
Mrs Young said: “We have always offered colleagues flexible options, but this seemed a natural next step.
“It’s also an important part of attracting and retaining the best talent to help us grow our business as well as delivering our core values, particularly satisfying and impressing our clients, treating others well and keeping learning.”
Mrs Young said: “Looking to double our revenue to £25million in the next five years is a challenge, but it’s the basis of our growth strategy. Some of that growth will come organically, including through our continuing strong business development performance, but we will also be looking to add to our offering through the likes of hires, acquisitions, and mergers.
“Ultimately this will help us create an even stronger and resilient firm for our colleagues and our clients.”
As part of its plans to enhance its commercial offering across all its offices, including in the private client and rural teams in the north of Scotland, there have been 26 new starts since 1 January 2021, including 18 new roles.
Recent high-profile hires include Inverness-based partner JP Campbell, who joined in October 2021, and is tasked with growing the private client offering. Mr Campbell specialises in business succession, estate planning, executry administration, asset protection, trusts and supporting adults with incapacity.
This appointment follows that in April 2020 of partner Gary Webster, also based in Inverness, who has a remit to grow the rural client base in Moray and the north of Scotland.