Tayside law firm Thorntons plans to double staff

Thorntons' bosses Craig Nicol and Scott Milne have seen the firm become a major player in the east of Scotland. Picture: Contributed
Thorntons' bosses Craig Nicol and Scott Milne have seen the firm become a major player in the east of Scotland. Picture: Contributed
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TAYSIDE legal heavyweight Thorntons has outlined plans to ramp up its presence in the Scottish capital, including a doubling of its headcount over the next few years.

The Dundee-headquartered firm, which has grown to bec­ome a major player in the east of Scotland, with more than 400 staff across eight locations, has moved its Edinburgh team into larger offices in the city’s Melville Street.

It is confident that it can grow its staff numbers from just over 20 currently to about 40 over the next three to five years as it targets expansion in key areas including land and rural advice and commercial work.

The firm is also eyeing a push into the city’s residential property market, most likely through the acquisition of an established business.

Scott Milne, joint managing partner, alongside Craig Nicol, said: “We started in Edinburgh in 2004 and the move to Melville Street is our second in the city.

“We’ve simply outgrown where we were as the business expanded over the period. We now have just over 20 people and have the capacity to double that over the next three to five years.”

Nicol said that with regard to attacking the residential property sector, “a cold start is not our favoured option”.

“It is competitive and crowded,” he acknowledged, “so we are looking at opportunities and will see what comes up.

“We are approached regularly but are very discerning about what we pursue. Merger for merger’s sake is not something we are interested in.”

Thorntons, which has 42 partners, undertook a double merger last year, bringing Fife-based solicitors Murray Donald and Steel Eldridge Stewart into its fold.

Milne said the operations were bedding in well and
described them as “a really good fit for us”.

“Steel is a very strong private client practice,” he noted, “while Murray is a top end brand in St Andrews and strong in private client and property. Both firms are also strong in land and rural business. The deal ticked the strategic boxes for us.”

The Thorntons’ bosses rev­ealed that the firm was on track for turnover of about £19.4 million in the current year to May, up from £16.3m previously, through organic growth and merger. That figure is likely to approach £23m in the coming year.