Harper Macleod pushes into Shetland legal market

Lorne Crerar welcomed the new faces in the HM team. Picture: Allan Milligan
Lorne Crerar welcomed the new faces in the HM team. Picture: Allan Milligan
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Legal heavyweight Harper Macleod is extending its reach well beyond the mainland after acquiring a practice in Shetland.

The Glasgow-headquartered firm said today that Dowle, Smith & Rutherford (DSR) would make a “significant contribution” to its turnover, which hit a record £22.1 million in the past financial year.

Harper Macleod already operates offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Thurso and has an overall headcount approaching 400.

Led by partners Christopher Dowle and Paul Rutherford, DSR’s full complement of 12 people will join the firm on 1 October. The Shetland outpost, which is based in St Olaf’s Hall in Lerwick, will be renamed as Harper Macleod incorporating Dowle, Smith & Rutherford.

Lorne Crerar, chairman of Harper Macleod, said: “This is a unique opportunity for our firm to enter one of the most interesting and dynamic economies in the whole of Scotland.

“DSR is one of the island’s leading legal brands and this is a mutually beneficial opportunity for both firms, adding the full weight of Harper Macleod’s commercial and personal legal offering to the existing services provided to current and future clients. We know Chris and Paul very well, having worked closely with the firm for many years through our HM Connect referral network of 275 firms across the country.

“We are delighted to be welcoming them to the firm and to have the opportunity to deliver excellent legal services both on Shetland and beyond.”

Harper Macleod is already on the panel of law firms which provide support to Shetland Islands Council, and Crerar highlighted the area’s strengths in oil and gas, renewables, aquaculture and tourism.

He said: “We are already established as the leading full service legal brand across the Highlands and Islands, with offices in Inverness and Thurso, and have never been afraid to go where we see an opportunity.

“We have built a sustainable legal business at a time when other models clearly aren’t succeeding.”