Legal review: Experts evaluate business

The country’s largest legal firms have their say on how business has continued to thrive despite a turbulent year.

Put your faith in an approachable and friendly family-run law firm

Fiona Rasmusen, Gibson Kerr, head of Family Law

Everyone’s journey through life is different, but we all need to be able to turn to someone we can trust for help and advice.

Image: Adobe StockImage: Adobe Stock
Image: Adobe Stock

As a family-run law firm, Gibson Kerr’s expert and friendly solicitors in Edinburgh and Glasgow are here to help with your family’s legal needs. Our expert Personal and Family Law teams can offer in-depth specialist advice across a range of legal areas.

Over the years we have helped hundreds of families with their legal needs. Whether you are going through a divorce or separation, negotiating a “prenup”, settling a cohabitation dispute or dealing with family disputes involving children, our friendly and approachable family law experts know that everyone’s situation is unique and we treat each client as an individual, with understanding and respect.

If you need help and advice on personal law matters – such as planning your estate and making a will; setting up power of attorney; dealing with disputes about deceased persons’ estates, or the responsibility that comes with being named an executor – our Personal Law solicitors can give you bespoke and trusted advice.

They also help clients set up trusts, deal with cost of care issues and many other areas of the law. Gibson Kerr’s Property Team can handle all of your estate agency needs in the Edinburgh area, and house sale and purchase conveyancing for any property in Scotland.

Fiona RasmusenFiona Rasmusen
Fiona Rasmusen

Gibson Kerr has been providing legal services to people in Edinburgh and Glasgow for many years. We recently moved to larger premises and made a number of key appointments and promotions as part of our ambitious growth strategy.

Nevertheless, we remain a friendly, approachable firm, dedicated to providing quality advice to our clients.

An incredibly busy year with a host of exciting developments

Fraser Gillies, Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie, Managing Partner

Fraser GilliesFraser Gillies
Fraser Gillies

It has been an incredibly busy year for Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie, which has seen a host of exciting developments, including two office moves and a string of promotions and new hires.

In April, our Glasgow team moved into their new office on St Vincent Plaza, where the open-plan layout has significantly enhanced our collaborative working.

The office’s opening was marked with a fantastic exhibition reflecting on landmark legal cases across our firm’s 165-year history, including our work with the Roslin Institute when Dolly the Sheep was cloned, and our involvement in Space Hub Sutherland.

Our Dunfermline team has also moved into an impressive new office space following continued success over the last year. And our Inverness team celebrated their 11th anniversary – from opening with just one solicitor, it is now 21-strong and has a diverse client base.

John Morrison. Picture: Jo Hanley PhotographyJohn Morrison. Picture: Jo Hanley Photography
John Morrison. Picture: Jo Hanley Photography

Nurturing talent

We have seen a string of promotions and appointments across the business over the last 12 months, and we were delighted to welcome four new aspiring solicitors to our graduate scheme this year.

Repower, recharge, rethink

Renewables remains a core focus for us and it’s clear that the industry is likely to play a central role in Britain’s economy over the next decade. We’re looking forward to our annual renewables seminar, on Thursday, 10 November in Glasgow, as it’s always an excellent opportunity to take stock of where we are and where things are going in the sector.

Looking ahead

The economic and political climate will continue to present challenges, but I feel confident we will be able to continue to build on the progress made in 2022, and I look forward to supporting our clients throughout the next year

Allan WernhamAllan Wernham
Allan Wernham

Essential ingredients for an ambitious entrepreneurial ecosystem

John Morrison, Shepherd and Wedderburn, Partner

As a nation, we are renowned for our thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. Despite challenges in recent years, venture capital investment in the UK hit a record £26 billion in 2021, with £626.9 million of that coming in Scotland.

What makes us a nation of entrepreneurs? We have direct access to essential ingredients required for an attractive and ambitious entrepreneurial ecosystem: talent; mentorship; incubators and accelerators, and early-stage funding. Innovative start-ups have access to – and often spin out from – world-renowned universities with a pool of bright, promising graduates and leading researchers, and are well served by incubators and accelerators.

The challenges of scaling up

However, our ecosystem does not always adequately support promising start-ups through the scale-up stage and beyond, so that they progress.

Sustaining momentum in the face of the current economic uncertainty will be no mean feat for the start-up community. Entrepreneurs and their fledgling businesses must navigate tricky questions and take difficult decisions that will inevitably determine the speed and scale of growth.

Being unprepared and missing a key funding opportunity or entrance to market could prove costly, while expanding too rapidly could mean they are left to pick up the pieces if the landscape then shifts.

Business of the future

The right journey for each business depends on a wide range of factors from personnel to market movement. Therefore, in order to overcome these challenges, we have launched our Start-toScale campaign aimed at connecting start-ups with reliable advice from experts. Visit start-to-scale for guidance.

Seeing first-hand how creating a great culture can pay dividends

Alan Wernham, CMS, Managing Director (Scotland)

The competition to attract the most promising talent in the Scottish legal sector is fierce. To succeed in this competitive landscape, Scottish law firms need to look beyond the salary and conditions they can offer.

As an international firm with a significant presence in Scotland, CMS has seen first-hand how creating a great culture, where we can offer colleagues high-quality work and opportunities around the globe, is paying dividends.

This has been nurtured over the long-term and is underpinned by investment in people, commitment towards client relationships, and contributions to the communities we serve.

We are also able to offer our colleagues a global perspective through our 70-plus offices around the world. This ensures we leverage the talent we have here in Scotland across both local and international markets. It also provides opportunities for our people to gain experience and develop as lawyers.

One of the things I am most proud of is how CMS’s diversity and inclusion policies have ensured that progress within our firm is based solely on ability, attitude and work ethos. An example of the positive outcomes of this commitment is that currently 45 per cent of our partners in Scotland are female, significantly higher than the industry average.

CMS is committed to achieving net-zero status by 2025. We’re also involved in promoting sustainability through a number of other initiatives, including creating beehive gardens at our three Scottish offices, and delivering our Young Citizens climate action education programme for secondary school students.

Our long-term investment in people, clients and communities and our wider commitment to diversity, inclusion and sustainability is helping ensure CMS continues to attract the best legal talent in Scotland.

Welcoming a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ for financial services

Jonny Williams, Womble Bond Dickinson, UK Head of Financial Institutions Sector

The Financial Services and Markets Bill has reached the Public Bill Committee stage.

At this point in proceedings, the first (and usually plentiful) amendments to the published draft are raised and debated, so the version of the Bill which emerges at the end of this stage may be very different from the original. The Bill, described as a “once in a generation opportunity to improve regulation, enhance consumer protection and create a more competitive financial services sector”, is a framework law which will underpin disparate new regulatory measures.

Among the key initiatives is the repeal and replacement of all EU measures in UK law – bringing, the government says, the opportunity to create a regulatory environment fit for the UK financial services markets.

But the Bill also proposes a regime to supervise the biggest unregulated providers of critical services to financial institutions, the framework for regulating crypto-assets and their providers, and bringing buynow-pay-later products and services into regulation.

Of particular interest to the Scottish financial marketplace, and in particular the retail banking sector, will be not only the proposal for mandatory reimbursement for victims of authorised push payment scams, but also the proposals for ensuring access to cash.

Given the Scottish Affairs Committee’s summer report on access to cash in Scotland, highlighting a higher reliance on cash in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, the government’s commitment to continue to ensure access for those who need it, and its support for the Cash Action Group and Banking Framework initiatives will be welcome.

But in this turbulent time for politics, we will have to wait and see how the original proposals change before we get a new law.

- Content has been included at the request of advertisers