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10th year of growth

Lawyers must learn from pandemic says Brodies’ chief

Nick Scott: inspired

Top Scottish lawyer Nick Scott says the impact of the coronavirus has given the legal sector “much to learn” about how it can adapt and evolve in the digital age.

The past six months had shown how the courts, land registers and regulatory bodies can make best use of technology, said the managing partner at Brodies, Scotland’s largest independent law firm.

His comments came as the Edinburgh-based practice achieved a 7% increase in turnover to £82m for the year to the end of April (2019: £76.9m). This is a tenth consecutive yearly rise and amounts to 20% growth in the last two years.  Operating profit grew 3%. 

Profits before partner distributions rose to £38.5m from £37.4m the previous year.

However, profit per equity partner fell by 4% from £710,000 to £680,000 as a result of increasing the number of partners alongside an overall 6% increase in headcount from 680 to 728. Of these 108 are partners.

Reflecting on a year of “strong demand” for its services, Mr Scott added: “The role of lawyers as trusted outside counsel has never been more important. 

“To support our clients we invested in people, infrastructure and services to ensure our firm’s resilience in the years ahead and to underpin the planning process for our 2021 – 2024 strategic cycle.

“I continue to be inspired by our legal and business services colleagues, many of whom have been involved in driving new initiatives forward and who fulfil the role of trusted outside counsel for our clients as we all navigate a path through the pandemic.

Together we can forge a legal system able to meet the needs of clients, and society, in the digital age

– Nick Scott, Brodies

“There is, of course, much to learn from the last six months.  While guiding our colleagues and our clients through the pandemic is our first priority, we must also take the lessons we have learned about how the legal sector can adapt, how we use technology and how our courts, land registers and regulatory bodies can evolve. 

“Together we can forge a legal system able to meet the needs of clients, and society, in the digital age.” 

During the year the firm was involved in deals worth more than £15m, acting for clients such as Chevron North Sea in its sale of assets to Ithaca Energy, and a Hong Kong investor’s purchase of the Fairmont St Andrews Hotel.

It handled all legal work for Barclays’ Buchanan Wharf in Glasgow, one of the largest construction projects in the UK, comprising more than 1m sqft.

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