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Nine practices share £44m of legal fees

Law firms secure clean sweep on Holyrood panel

Lorne CrerarAnderson Strathern and Harper Macleod have been appointed to all six lots on the Scottish government’s legal panel.

A further seven firms have been chosen to help with external legal advice. These are Brodies, DLA Piper, DWF, MacRoberts, Morton Fraser, Thorntons and Weightmans.

The panel is worth £44m in fees and was due to begin on 1 July but  the government delayed the appointments and it will now begin from this weekend and run on a four year cycle.

Trade sources say that in making its decision the government took a hard-line on costs and evaluated contracts on a 60:40 quality-to-price ratio.

Between 2011/12 and 2013/14 Harper Macleod and Dundas & Wilson, now part of CMS McKenna, were the biggest beneficiaries from the Government, receiving £2.9m and £2.4m respectively.

However, CMS together with Maclay Murray &  Spens and Pinsent Masons have been dropped from the panel.

Non-Scottish headquartered firms DWF and Weightmans, which have opened offices in Scotland, have been added. DWF merged with Biggart Baillie in 2012. Weightmans opened in Glasgow in 2013 with a team from the former Semple Fraser.

All procurements covered by the Framework will be run under the new guidelines from 1 August. The collaborative procurement approach of the new Framework represents a significant change from the previous panel arrangements. Now, more than 100 Central Government public bodies will be able to access the Framework to procure their legal services.

Professor Lorne Crerar (pictured), chairman of Harper Macleod said: “The Scottish Government set out to create a framework that would deliver both quality and value, a combination we pride ourselves on delivering to everyone we work with. The process of being appointed involved a thorough examination of the firm and our services as a whole so we are naturally delighted to have been recognised as meeting this benchmark.

“Given the level of interest and high levels of competition during this procurement process, being appointed to the Framework panels is an achievement in itself, however this simply affords us the ability to bid for a wide range of tender opportunities. We look forward to competing for the opportunity to work with the Government and a wide range of public bodies over the next four years.”

++ Brodies has achieved accreditation as an Investor in People and Investor in Young People – becoming one of the first law firms in the UK to be recognised for excellence in people management in both categories.

Brodies has also signed up to the Scottish Business Pledge, a Scottish Government initiative that requires signatories to uphold the principles of fairness, equality, opportunity and innovation in the workplace.

The Investors in People (IIP) accreditation follows a rigorous and objective assessment process in which assessors reviewed Brodies’ strategy, management structure and personnel development initiatives. They then met with randomly-selected lawyers and staff across Brodies’ offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen to gauge their understanding of the firm’s strategic direction and values.

Brodies met all nine criteria set out in the Scottish Business Pledge, which include paying a minimum of the living wage to all staff, investing in young people, innovation, supporting progressive workforce engagement and playing an active role in the community.

Bill Drummond, Brodies’ Managing Partner, said: “These commitments to both transparency and best practice are welcomed by the firm and we’re pleased to see that our long-term investment in our people has been formally recognised in this way.”

Peter Russian, chief executive of Investors in People Scotland, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Brodies. I would like to congratulate the organisation and its people on their commitment to continuous improvement. Investors in People offers a flexible, practical and easy to use business improvement tool designed to help organisations and their people achieve their objectives. I hope that more organisations in the area will be encouraged to sharpen their competitive edge by choosing to work with us.”

Brodies recently passed the 600 personnel mark, cementing its place as the largest law firm in Scotland.

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