AROUND 50 jobs could be lost at a Scottish law firm which has been bought out of administration by another firm.
Shepherd and Wedderburn yesterday acquired the business and assets of Tods Murray, a 158-year-old firm, for an undisclosed sum.
All the 160 or so Tods Murray staff will be transferred with immediate effect.
Of the staff joining Shepherd and Wedderburn 18 will join as partners, five as directors and seven as consultants.
Employees were formally notified of the situation on Friday October 3 and a formal 45-day redundancy consultation with former Tods Murray staff is due to begin next week.
The initial proposal is for around 50 jobs to be subject to redundancy consultation.
Stephen Gibb, chief executive of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “We will be welcoming many new colleagues into our team, as part of Shepherd and Wedderburn. Their clients can be assured of a continuation of the high level of service they have come to expect, as well as the opportunity to access the expanded range of legal expertise and advice we offer.
“Whilst inevitably there will be a need to rationalise, I am confident that the arrangement will provide significant benefits to our staff and client base.
“Shepherd and Wedderburn has a debt-free balance sheet and a strategy for sustainable growth both in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.
“The opportunity to add to our excellent client base and secure additional high quality lawyers to bolster our expert teams is ideally timed for our business. It’s a further significant step forward in realising our clearly defined strategy for growth”.
Shepherd and Wedderburn will trade out of the former Tods Murray offices at Edinburgh Quay and Bothwell Street, Glasgow for no more than three months before these offices are closed.
After the consultation period all staff who are retained will move to Shepherd and Wedderburn’s existing offices at Exchange Crescent, Edinburgh and West George Street, Glasgow.
The firm also has offices in London and Aberdeen and says it delivers “comprehensive multi-jurisdictional legal advice across every business sector” as well as offering the full range of private client and wealth management services.
After the acquisition the firm will have 564 staff, including 82 partners.
Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “We are very sad to hear that Tods Murray has gone into administration. It represents the loss of a long established and very highly regarded Scottish law firm.
“We are confident however that arrangements are being put in place to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible to the firm’s clients as there is to be a full transfer of business to Shepherd and Wedderburn, one of Scotland’s largest law firms.
“While all Tods Murray staff will also transfer to Shepherd and Wedderburn, we are very aware that this will be a difficult and uncertain time for everyone affected by today’s announcement. We already have a range of support services available to solicitors for these kinds of situations and we will be offering our help and support to those who need it.”
She added: “Law firms were hit hard by the recession which, combined with the ongoing, significant changes within the legal services sector, is continuing to have an impact. While the profession overall has been robust in weathering the downturn, today’s announcement shows that we cannot take things for granted, even as the economy shows signs of recovery.”