Scotland’s legal sector sees second merger inside a week with 'landmark' tie-up
Irwin Mitchell, which was founded in Sheffield in 1912 and has a string of offices across the UK, including in Glasgow, is acquiring Scottish law firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie in a deal described as a “strategic investment”. The two firms will “work in collaboration” to provide a full suite of legal and financial services operating out of more than 20 locations across Scotland, England and Wales.
Bosses said the firms have “complementary skills” north of the Border with Irwin Mitchell Scotland operating out of Glasgow, predominantly in banking and finance and complex personal injury work, while Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie specialises in corporate, private client, property and asset management. In England and Wales, Irwin Mitchell already provides a full line-up of legal and financial services which will be opened up to Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie’s clients.
As part of the agreement, on completion Irwin Mitchell partners Bruce Macmillan, Craig Marshall and Mark Higgins will join the newly constituted Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie management board.
Marshall said: “The two firms are a great cultural fit and share a similar purpose, values and future vision. We have ambitious plans for growth, and we are both focused on building on our client-centric approach, an excellent colleague experience and an ambition to become leading responsible businesses. This strategic investment significantly expands our access to Scotland and Irwin Mitchell and Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie believe it will fundamentally enhance the service for current and future clients across the whole of the UK and internationally.”
Fraser Gillies, managing partner at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie, who will continue to head up operations in Scotland, said: “This is a landmark moment for our firm. We have expanded considerably over the past decade and this investment will supercharge our growth efforts and provide a clear route into England and Wales, while broadening the services we can offer our clients. We share a similar approach, putting our clients and people at the heart of everything we do. We also share similar ambitions for the future, so we are proud to make history together and begin this exciting new chapter.”
In the past 12 months, Irwin Mitchell has agreed deals to acquire asset management firms TWP Wealth and Andrews Gwynne. The firm has also opened new offices in Cardiff and Liverpool and recruited 18 additional partners.
News of the deal comes in the same week that Scotland’s legal sector saw one of its biggest mergers in more than a decade leading to the creation of a new “big four” pack of heavyweight indigenous firms. The combination of Morton Fraser and MacRoberts is largely a merger of equals and brings together two of the most established and familiar names in the market. The combined practices, which will trade, at least initially, under the Morton Fraser MacRoberts LLP banner, have delivered revenue growth of almost 20 per cent since 2021, with total annual revenues in the region of £46 million. The merged entity will be about 30 per cent larger by turnover than its nearest rival.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.