PROPERTY and corporate work is picking up at Anderson Strathern following a year in which cost-cutting allowed the Scots legal firm to increase profits despite a slight dip in turnover.
Profits reached £7.3 million during the year to 31 August, up from £6.5m previously, on revenues which dipped by £200,000 to £21.5m. Managing partner Murray McCall said the improvement was primarily the result of a payroll cuts.
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The firm undertook a strategic review in the second half of 2013 in which it streamlined its commercial and residential property operations. Total headcount across its offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Haddington was trimmed by 18, with most of that achieved through voluntary redundancy.
Anderson Strathern has since started building those operations back up through the appointment earlier this year of Sara Jalicy as lead partner on the residential property team. Corporate work is also on the rise, which in turn boosted turnover by 12.5 per cent in the first quarter of the current year.
“We are starting to see now the benefits of the country and the economy coming out of recession,” McCall said.
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The firm employs about 230 people, including 52 partners. McCall said the latest results prove it “is not necessary to be taken over or to merge in order to thrive”, but added that a lot of “informal dialogue” is still taking place across the sector.
Scotland’s legal sector has been through an intense period of consolidation, with the loss of a number of high-profile names. Tods Murray collapsed into administration last year before parts of its business were taken over by Shepherd & Wedderburn, while CMS Cameron McKenna merged with Dundas & Wilson.
McCall said said his own firm has had informal discussions with other Scottish practices, but has not considered any cross-Border tie-ups. “I think for any sort of Scottish law firm, it has got to be something they are thinking about, if a really good proposition comes your way,” he added.