MERGERS and acquisitions in the upper echelons of Scotland’s legal sector are creating opportunities for smaller firms to enter the mid tier, according to one fast-growing practice.
Alistair Lang, a partner at Fife-based Murray Donald, said that having fewer large firms operating in Scotland was opening up opportunities for smaller outfits.
Lang told Scotland on Sunday: “Not every company wants a big law firm, and the way big law firms operate won’t suit every client.
“As the bigger firms get bigger and there are fewer mid-tier firms, that will open up opportunities.
“We’re not targeting any takeovers at the moment but we have an open mind.”
The legal sector has witnessed a wave of M&A activity in the past year, from the takeover of McGrigors, Scotland’s largest legal firm, by Pinsent Masons, and Burness’s merger with Paull & Williamsons, through to Andersons and Biggart Baillie being taken over by firms from south of the Border. A range of players including Blackadders, Lindsays, Morton Fraser and Tods Murray have also hoovered up smaller practices.
Lang’s comments came after Murray Donald – which has branches in Anstruther, Cupar and St Andrews – rebranded from its previous name, Murray Donald Drummond Cook.
The firm, which traces its roots back to the 19th century, has diversified from its traditional private client and residential property work into intellectual property and commercial property.
It has advised companies including Advanced Underwater Surveys and Cyberhawk, along with Castle Stuart Golf Links and the St Andrews Links Trust.
Murray Donald will hope to emulate the success of fellow Fife firm Pagan Osborne, which expanded into Edinburgh in 2004 when it bought Ketchen & Stevens.
Lang said: “We would certainly like to raise our profile like Pagan Osborne has done, but we’re two completely different types of firm.”
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