Dundas & Wilson partner resigns over ‘irregularities’

A PARTNER in Scotland’s biggest law firm has resigned over “irregularities” in a tender process.

Dundas & Wilson has launched an investigation and referred the matter to the Law Society of Scotland.

No details on the partner involved were released by the firm, but Scotland on Sunday understands that it concerns Keith Armstrong, who works in infrastructure.

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In a statement responding to enquiries, Caryn Penley, interim managing partner, said: “It was brought to the attention of the board that there were irregularities in a tender process in which the firm recently participated.

“As soon as we ascertained this we immediately withdrew our tender to maintain the integrity of the process.

“Our initial investigations established that a partner had come into the possession of confidential information which may have prejudiced the tender process.

“The partner concerned has resigned from Dundas & Wilson, and is now on gardening leave. Given the nature of the incident, we consulted with the Law Society of Scotland.

“The circumstances of this are profoundly disappointing for all concerned. In the interests of everyone involved we have acted on this as quickly as possible.

“Once our investigations are finalised the matter will be referred to our board for further action and pending that it would not be appropriate to make further comment.”

The issue has come at an embarrassing time for D&W, which recently made 28 staff redundant and this week holds a secret ballot to elect a new managing partner and chairman after managing partner Donald Shaw stepped down two years into his three-year term.

Penley is one of six candidates for the two positions. Joint interim managing partner Allan Wernham will join Penley and corporate lawyers Colin Massie and Michael Polson in seeking election as managing partner. Real estate partner Iain Lindsay and IT partner Laurence Ward have put themselves forward for election as chairman.

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Last month four lawyers were promoted to partners: banking specialist Craig McGinn, litigator Graeme Macleod, Grigor Milne of the corporate team and energy and infrastucture lawyer Mark Kirke.

The firm traces its roots to 1759. It has 80 partners and 340 fee earners at its Edinburgh head office and in Aberdeen, Glasgow and London.

Last year’s turnover of £62 million was 2 per cent up on the previous year.