Solid growth in profit and income

Brodies and Pinsents ‘well prepared’ for Brexit fall-out

Bill DrummondKirk Murdoch 1Two legal heavyweights say they are well placed to handle issues surrounding Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union. 

Brodies and Pinsent Masons have unveiled a year of growth in revenue and profits but did not provide fully comparative figures.

Brodies said profit before partner distributions for the year to the end of April grew 14.2% to £30.9 million on revenue up by12.4% to £65.1m. This was the sixth consecutive year of revenue and profit growth. Cash balances rose 7.3% to £15.9m

Pinsent Masons, which does not breakdown its Scottish figures, said profit per partner rose 2.3% to £550,000. Global turnover increased 5.5% to £382.3m.

Brodies saw its payroll rise 4.6% to 631 and the number of partners by 10.9% to 91. The number of other lawyers and professional advisers increased 4.5% to 303.

During the year the firm completed the second year of its 2014/17 strategic plan, delivering sustained organic growth and a double-digit increase in turnover and profit without having to borrow or resort to merger. Brodies continues to have no reliance on external debt. 

There were five lateral partner hires and seven partner promotions; 32 top tier practice area rankings in the independent legal directories; and a move into a new office in Queen Street, Glasgow.

The firm also extended the Prime programme, a pioneering initiative by the UK’s leading law firms to widen access to the legal profession to young people from all backgrounds, to school pupils from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

It celebrated a decade of support for the Scottish Schools Swimming Association and Maggie’s Centres, which provide UK-wide support for people whose lives are affected by cancer.

Bill Drummond, managing partner (pictured above left), said: “The partners are satisfied with the progress we have made over the past year.

“It is clear that we have entered a period of uncertainty, however we stand ready to support organisations and individuals, whether in Scotland, the rest of the UK or overseas, in facing the challenges that the Brexit vote will present as well as the opportunities that will undoubtedly emerge.”

Pinsent Masons, which employs 550 staff in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, was involved in some of the largest corporate deals in the last year, including the largest transactions in the oil and gas, and food and drinks industries.

The firm acted on Total’s £585m disposal of the St Fergus gas terminal and North Sea infrastructure and the £98.4m acquisition of Macduff Shellfish by Canadian group Clearwater Seafoods. It was also appointed to advise on the £410m Aberdeen Harbour extension and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project, and is acting for five local authorities engaged in Scotland’s largest joint waste treatment and disposal project.

Managing partner, John Cleland, said: “This latest set of results demonstrates further progress. It is particularly pleasing that we have managed to sustain growth and profitability while making unprecedented levels of investment into our business.

“Our partners recognise that if we are serious about becoming international market leaders we cannot stop investing. We have a good deal of momentum in the business and our focus now is on supporting clients based in the UK and elsewhere through what is likely to be a volatile and unpredictable trading period. Some time ago we assembled a multi-disciplinary Brexit Advisory Team which is already engaged with clients globally to address the challenges and opportunities linked to Brexit.

“The year ahead is hard to predict, however our strategic focus on industry sectors, international platform and broad practice mix means our business is exceptionally well-placed to help clients respond to what lies ahead.”

Scotland and Northern Ireland chairman, Kirk Murdoch (pictured above right), added: “The start of 2016 has been very positive, with our corporate team having acted on deals worth in excess of £1.5 billion, while our projects team recently reached financial close for SSE on its £2.6bn financing of the Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.”

Pinsent Masons acquired a majority stake in the cloud-based compliance service Cerico, with Glasgow-based corporate partner Richard Masters taking on the role of executive chairman.

Pinsent Masons’ opened an oil and gas practice in Singapore which will support cross-border deal-making across the Asia Pacific region. The firm also established an energy-focussed office in Dusseldorf and extended its presence in Australia with new offices in Sydney and Melbourne with experience in the global infrastructure sector.

Recently the firm made 18 partner promotions, (three in Scotland) and appointed its first external board member, Pauline Egan, and first chief operating officer, Alastair Mitchell, while former Secretary of State Douglas Alexander joined as a strategic adviser to support the firm’s responsible business agenda.

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