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Practice on course to break in to top three

Anderson Strathern acquires two firms as profits rise

Murray McCall Alasdair Gillies Gordon FrewLaw firm Anderson Strathern is acquiring Jeffrey Aitken in Glasgow and the Edinburgh-based dispute resolution firm ADLP.

Jeffrey Aitken specialises in private client work, specialist road transport law and general litigation and the merger will add two partners and 10 staff to Anderson Strathern’s existing 270, including 53 partners.

Alistair Dean, co-founding partner at ADLP, becomes a partner at Anderson Strathern whose managing partner, Murray McCall, said: “2015 has been a great year for the firm, marked by steady organic growth, a series of lateral hires, substantial growth in the Glasgow office and some great client wins across the commercial, public and private client sectors.

“When you look at our trajectory as a Scottish law firm, we’re on course to break into the top three over the next few years.  We have strengthened our balance sheet during the period and increased overall profitability in line with the firm’s three year strategic plan, giving us the ability to recruit and retain the best people to meet the challenges of the legal market.

“While we would never want to rule out a substantial merger altogether  – Anderson Strathern itself was founded by the merger of two established Edinburgh firms in 1992 – our partners are collectively of the view that our medium-term future is best served by a standalone strategy of organic growth, lateral hires and, where they present themselves, occasional opportunities to bring smaller scale, high quality practices like Jeffrey Aitken and ADLP into the business.”

Gordon Frew, Jeffrey Aitken’s senior partner, said: “We are excited about the forthcoming merger of our business, which dates back more than a century, with Anderson Strathern and are confident our clients will benefit greatly from the additional and enhanced legal services the merger will bring about.”

Robert Carr, Anderson Strathern’s chairman, said: “As we look ahead in 2016, we do so in a position of considerable strength.  Alongside a client-first approach, we have made a significant investment in our people this year and are firmly established and pre-eminent in commercial, public and private client work.

“The ability to offer best-of-class strategic legal advice combined with a powerfully collaborative approach marks us out from others in the sector and our successes this year are a testament to the hard work put in by the whole team.”

Mr Dean said: “I am delighted to be back at Anderson Strathern, a firm I have always been fond of since working there in my younger days. It is clearly a firm in growth mode and I am keen to enhance the commercial litigation offering.”

The deals came as Anderson Strathern reported an 8.2% increase in profits per full equity partner for the year to 31 August on standstill turnover of £21.7 million (2014: £21.5m).

Operating cash flow increased by 9% in the year, with cash held at 31 August rising to £3.8m.  The firm has set aside a significant proportion of this for future investment in people, IT and infrastructure.

Photo: Murray McCall of Anderson Strathern with Alasdair Gillies and Gordon Frew of Jeffrey Aitken

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