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Law firm rises

Burness Paull overcomes lockdown to lift profits

Peter Lawson

Chairman Peter Lawson

One of Scotland’s largest law firms has overcome five months of lockdown to raise its annual profit by 14%.

Edinburgh-based Burness Paull saw profit of £25 million, compared with £22m in the previous 12 months. Partner payouts won’t be revealed until full accounts are filed in March.

Revenue was up by 3% to £60.5m in the 12 months to the end of July as it won business from new clients including Cala Homes, Nike and Vodafone.

The firm operates from offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen and has more than 540 staff.

The latest figures represent a turnaround on last year which saw an 8% fall in profit as economic and political uncertainty impacted on two of its biggest markets.

Chairman Peter Lawson said the impact of the pandemic meant it had been a “hugely challenging period” but the high-profile transactions worked on during lockdown – including the £42m Aim flotation of Scottish technology company Calnex Solutions – were testimony to the firm’s resilience.

“Investment in automation has really paid off and made us much more efficient during deals,” he said. “Clients want problems solved and we are freeing up lawyers at all levels to work on doing the really important stuff, rather than getting bogged down in admin.

“Some practice areas saw an initial drop in demand, especially the more transactional ones, but not as drastically as many predicted, and we’ve since seen an uptick across those areas as lockdown measures have been gradually eased.”

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