Dundas & Wilson first of 'big four' to move to LLP

LEGAL giant Dundas & Wilson has become the first of Scotland’s so-called "big four" practices to switch to limited liability partnership status.

The move means the firm will have to publish full accounts and disclose various financial details with Companies House, in exchange for having its 67 partners’ personal assets protected against negligence claims.

LLP legislation was ushered in by the Government three years ago following pressure from the accounting profession, which had been shaken by a series of lawsuits in the wake of corporate scandals such as BCCI and, more recently, Arthur Andersen’s Enron-induced collapse.

Edinburgh-based Brodies and Tods Murray became the first top ten Scottish law firms to convert to LLP status on May 1, but D&W - which has some 500 staff spread across offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London - is the first of the big four collective to make the switch.

It is understood that the other members of the quartet - Maclay Murray & Spens, McGrigors and Shepherd & Wedderburn - have yet to register LLPs with Companies House.

D&W managing partner Chris Campbell said the transition "is not a big deal", given the increasing trend towards LLP status among the large City of London law firms.

He added: "We have taken account of what people are doing and we think it’s the right way to go. If you want to be a major player on the UK stage you have to be alive to what the London market is doing."