Lawyers combine

Morton Fraser and MacRoberts unveil merger

Chris Harte, Morton Fraser, Addleshaw Goddard, Coulters
Chris Harte: a new style of law firm

Two of the oldest law firms in Scotland have unveiled a merger to create a combination that will have 250 solicitors and revenue of £46 million.

Morton Fraser and MacRoberts will compete alongside other independents, Brodies, Burness Paull, and Shepherd & Wedderburn.

The newly-named Morton Fraser MacRoberts will be led by Chris Harte, current chief executive of Morton Fraser, with Neil Kennedy, managing partner of MacRoberts, becoming chief operating officer.

It is scheduled to go live on 1 November and will be about 30% larger by turnover than its nearest rival.

The two firms were said to be performing well ahead of the deal, having experienced consistent revenue and profit growth in recent years.

Edinburgh-based Morton Fraser has around 190 team members, while MacRoberts, which is headquartered in Glasgow, has about 160 members of staff.

In July Morton Fraser reported its highest-ever annual revenue of £25.7m – an increase of 8% year on year, just below the rate of inflation, but up 25% over two years.

A bonus of 6% of annual salary was announced and, as in previous years, this was paid to all staff, not just fee earners.

MacRoberts reported a 17% rise in profit before tax, members’ remuneration, and profit shares to £6.9m, up from £5.9m, on turnover up 10% to £20.6m, in the year to the end of April 2022.

Mr Harte said: “The time has come for a new style of law firm within Scotland’s top tier. Morton Fraser and MacRoberts are complementary firms, built on similar values.

“By merging, we will compete even more strongly in our chosen markets.”

Mr Kennedy added: “This is a great move for our people and our clients. Joining our collective talents and resources will help us to accelerate our growth.”

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