Harper Macleod grows market share as fee income jumps

Harper Macleod chairman Lorne Crerar, left, with chief executive Martin Darroch. Picture: Ross Gilmore
Harper Macleod chairman Lorne Crerar, left, with chief executive Martin Darroch. Picture: Ross Gilmore
Have your say

Legal firm Harper Macleod has laid claim to a bigger slice of the Scottish legal market after booking record full-year results.

The Glasgow-headquartered practice, which has 72 partners, pointed to “significant growth” across the country, including a greatly increased presence in Edinburgh and a push into Shetland.

Among the year’s “highlights” were an expanded Edinburgh office at Citypoint Haymarket – now home to 20 partners – the acquisition of Shetland practice Dowle, Smith & Rutherford, and the hiring of a team of ten lawyers, including five partners, from collapsed Glasgow-based firm McClure Naismith.

Today’s results statement shows that turnover jumped by almost 17 per cent to £25.7 million in the past financial year, despite a challenging backdrop for the profession.

The firm also flagged an unaudited gross profit of just under £9.1m – a rise of about 14 per cent on a year earlier.

Chairman Lorne Crerar said: “This has been, beyond doubt, the most impressive year to date for Harper Macleod and a very important indicator for us is that our growth has been across the full spectrum of the sectors of the Scottish economy, broadly categorised as private, public or third sector.”

READ MORE: Scots law firms upbeat despite crowded marketplace

The firm said it continued to play a “leading role” in the start-up and high-growth business communities, partnering with key organisations including Entrepreneurial Spark and the Scottish Edge fund.

It has also maintained its strong sports focus, last year joining forces with Guinness PRO 12 champions Glasgow Warriors to launch the Harper Macleod Club Deck at Scotstoun Stadium. The firm is also official sponsor of Scottish Swimming.

Chief executive Martin Darroch, who took up his post a decade ago when turnover sat at some £10m, said: “Our performance has also enabled us to attract talented people to the firm and maintain our strategy of organic growth with a sole focus on the Scottish market.

“That’s a market which isn’t growing as a whole, so the only way to thrive is to increase market share and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

“We have made significant investments in the past year and with a strong balance sheet are well placed to make moves where we see a real benefit. However, we expect this to be a year where we consolidate the significant additions we have made to the maximum benefit of our clients and our people.”

During the year, the firm won a place on all six lots of the new Scottish Government legal services framework.