Scots law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn hails ‘solid’ growth

Scottish-based legal heavyweight Shepherd and Wedderburn has hailed ‘solid’ growth despite a drop in profits before partner distributions in its latest financial year, which it noted was latterly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrew Blain highlighted the more challenging environment since the outbreak of coronavirus. Picture: Mike Wilkinson.Andrew Blain highlighted the more challenging environment since the outbreak of coronavirus. Picture: Mike Wilkinson.
Andrew Blain highlighted the more challenging environment since the outbreak of coronavirus. Picture: Mike Wilkinson.

However, it also saw turnover increase and flagged its role in high-profile deals including advising Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind on the £2 billion financing of the offshore wind farm of the same name; and US finance giant JPMorgan Chase on its plan to build a major technology base in Glasgow.

The Edinburgh-based law firm said that in the year to 30 April, profits before partner distributions fell 1.7 per cent to £22.4 million, while turnover was up 2 per cent to £56.9m.

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Its banking and finance team advised on 276 deals with a cumulative value of £64.6bn in the 12 months, a year-on-year increase of 65 per cent in the total number of deals, while its corporate finance team advised on deals with an aggregate value of more than £6bn in the year to December.

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The firm highlighted the performance of its commercial disputes and regulation, real estate, pensions, employment and private client teams. In terms of key deals, it cited its work advising oil and gas explorer and producer Cairn Energy, a client of more than 30 years, on the disposal of assets in Senegal worth up to $400m ($303m), and Baillie Gifford on a commercial let of 280,000 square feet at the £350m Haymarket Edinburgh development.

Its work also included advising both Epic Games, developer of blockbuster video game Fortnite, on its acquisition of technology company Cubic Motion, and the selling shareholders of Edinburgh-based video game data specialist DeltaDNA in its sale to US-based Unity Software.

Shepherd and Wedderburn also worked with longstanding client IndigoVision – also Edinburgh-based – on the security camera company’s £30.4m recommended takeover by Motorola Solutions.

Managing partner Andrew Blain said: “We are pleased to report solid growth in 2019/20. Like many businesses, the last two months of the financial year were impacted by the pandemic and since then we have been operating in a very different and altogether more challenging environment.

“We will continue to look to invest in talent and technology and to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves this year.” The business, which was founded in 1768, says it is the largest Scottish-headquartered UK law firm.

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