Legal firm worried about lack of skills

Jennifer Young: 'Shortage of talent acute'
Jennifer Young: 'Shortage of talent acute'
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A LEADING Scottish legal firm has voiced concern over a skills shortage in the profession, ­despite an increase in its annual turnover.

Ledingham Chalmers, which added five partners during the year, also saw running costs rise by £500,000 to £7.7 million, with “personnel costs” including profit-related pay accounting for the bulk of the increase.

Chairman Jennifer Young said the firm, which has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Stirling, had enjoyed a “strong year”, with a rising workload across its corporate, litigation, private client and rural practice areas.

But Young, who succeeded David Laing as chairman at the start of 2012, added: “Skills shortages within the profession remain a concern, particularly with the opportunities that are open to the next generation of lawyers to diversify within the private sector.

“This is not new in the Aberdeen market, but is perhaps more acute at the present time, as the demand for talent grows.”

Ledingham Chalmers, which has a subsidiary called Golden Square Wealth Management, said its total turnover grew 15 per cent to a record £12.4m in the year to the end of March.

Young said: “It is our view that corporate, litigation and private client services will continue to grow throughout 2014 and into 2015. In Aberdeen particularly, the commercial market is showing no signs of slowing.”

l International law firm Pinsent Masons has predicted a “resurgence” in the mergers and acquisitions market following the No vote in last week’s independence referendum.

Corporate partner Barry McCaig said: “In the short term we hope to see a spike in completions as transactions that were contingent upon the outcome of the vote are resumed.”