Harper Macleod snaps up Highland law firm

Law firm Harper Macleod has expanded into Moray with the acquisition of one of the area’s oldest legal practices.

From left: Damian Marinello, Lauren Wright, Lorne Crerar, Ian Davidson and Chris Kerr. Picture: Contributed
From left: Damian Marinello, Lauren Wright, Lorne Crerar, Ian Davidson and Chris Kerr. Picture: Contributed

The Glasgow-headquartered legal heavyweight has acquired Wink & Mackenzie (W&M), a practice established more than 100 years ago, as it develops its presence in the Highlands and Islands.

Although terms of the transaction were not disclosed, the move is expected to add a seven-figure sum to Harper Macleod’s overall turnover, with the firm’s headcount reaching around 400 people across Scotland.

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The deal will see W&M partners Ian Davidson and Lauren Wright transfer with their 15 Elgin-based staff to become part of Harper Macleod from 2 September, adding to the group’s existing offices in Inverness, Thurso, Lerwick, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Partner Damian Marinello will also transfer to Harper Macleod in the capacity of a consultant.

W&M is to retain its premises in The Old Station building in Elgin and will initially operate in Moray as Harper Macleod incorporating Wink & Mackenzie.

The firm being acquired is described having a strong focus on providing residential property, estate agency and personal legal services, including family law and wills, trusts and executries, as well as commercial and dispute resolution advice.

Harper Macleod chairman Lorne Crerar said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity both for Harper Macleod and the team at W&M, which is one of the leading firms in Moray.

“We have worked closely together for a number of years and joining forces was a natural step to take for both parties.

“As well as the services W&M already provides, it will allow us to extend the full Harper Macleod offering of commercial and personal legal services to the local market.”

Martin Darroch, chief executive of Harper Macleod, hailed the “fantastic opportunities” available in the region, adding: ”Moray is home to some of Scotland’s leading businesses and has a thriving economy, particularly in areas such as food and drink, manufacturing, tourism and, of course, energy and natural resources.”

Harper Macleod already acts for a “significant” number of clients in Moray, and was recently appointed to the panel of law firms Moray Council will use to seek external legal advice. The legal firm is now authorised to act for 24 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

W&M partner Davidson said: “Our firms have had a strong working relationship for some time and we already know that we’re a good match in terms of our ethos and the way we do business.

“As part of Harper Macleod we’ll be able to continue what we’re already doing and also offer much more.”