Scottish law firm Burness Paull posts £22m profits on £53.8m turnover

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Scottish law firm Burness Paull has delivered annual turnover of £53.8m, up 1% from £53.3m the previous year with profits down marginally from £22.5m to £22m for year ending 31 July 2017.

Commenting on the results, chairman Philip Rodney said: “We have delivered a steady financial performance in what has been a bumpy year for the Scottish economy. There will undoubtedly be more challenges to come as a result of the political and economic backdrop. However there will be opportunities for those who are prepared to be bold and embrace the future.”

The firm, which has seen an increase in instructions across most sectors and was named the most active dealmaker in Scotland for the second consecutive year, has a three-year strategy aimed at delivering growth across its Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow offices, as well as developing its international initiatives.

“The speed of change has never been greater. Our strategy builds on the successful platform that we have created. 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 increased activity in energy, technology and tax,” continued Mr. Rodney. “In planning for that, we have invested heavily in people and technology. This will enable us to develop our resource and provide operational efficiencies.”

In the last 12 months the firm has added eight partners. Lateral hires include Nicky Clemence, previously with Brodies, as partner in property and Jody Crockett joined as partner in dispute resolution from London-based magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Internal promotions saw new partners in pensions, retail, procurement, banking & funds and product liability. Also among the internal promotions, Lindsay Wallace becomes Burness Paull’s first general counsel.

“Our recent promotions demonstrate the depth of talent that is being nurtured through our leadership development programme and our ability to attract top talent from other firms,” added Mr. Rodney.

Building on previous technology investments the firm has implemented a cloud strategy to provide a modern IT environment delivering greater scalability, security and enhanced business continuity. In addition, agile working pilots are underway across the firm. With the aim to create a more responsive, efficient and effective organisation, improving business performance and increasing client satisfaction by empowering employees to work how, where and when they choose, lessons learned during the trials will inform a firm-wide roll out over the next 12 months.

Work highlights demonstrate Corporate Scotland’s resilience in the current political and economic climate. An upturn in inward investment into Scotland has been a feature of this activity.

“Scotland continues to produce exciting, dynamic businesses. It is increasingly attractive for inward investment – more so than any region out with London. This year, for example, we have had instructions from new clients in the US, China, Norway and Israel,” said Mr. Rodney. “In addition, a substantial part of our practice is in acting for clients who are doing business beyond our boundaries.

“Closer to home, we are seeing real substance behind the creativity and technical innovation across the central belt and there are positive signs out of Aberdeen as the oil and gas sector adapts to the ‘new normal’.

“The geo-political backdrop and the impact of the technological push over the next three years will generate enormous changes in the way business is conducted. Analysing the problems and the opportunities will be one thing. But creating solutions will be another. That is an exciting setting for us to build the firm.”

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