Scottish legal heavyweight rebounds from Covid with double-digit growth

Thorntons, the Tayside-headquartered legal firm, has returned to pre-pandemic growth rates after double-digit gains in both turnover and operating profit.

Accounts for the year ended May 31, 2022 show that turnover increased by 12 per cent year on year, hitting £35 million, with operating profit growing by 11 per cent to just over £10m. The period marks the first full financial year under Lesley Larg, who became managing partner in June 2021.

During its last financial year, the firm saw three partner teams join from MacRoberts, and mergers with Dundee firm Kim Barclay Solicitors and Edinburgh practice Stuart and Stuart WS - which, combined, grew the firm’s headcount by more than 45 people. Dundee-headquartered Thorntons also created an additional 82 jobs over the year.

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Larg said: “It has been a very significant year for the firm which has seen our results return to the double-digit growth we experienced prior to the pandemic. The acquisition of three very successful law firms has only strengthened our offering as a business and the results show across-the-board growth from all our teams. They also highlight the progress of our five-year strategic plan which focuses on organic, sustainable growth in markets where we have industry-leading expertise.”

A “renewed focus on culture and internal values” is at the heart of the new strategic plan for the firm which said it had invested significantly in its own people. During the year, 20 new trainee solicitors became fully qualified and 38 internal legal promotions were awarded, including seven partners. The firm also allocated £300,000 to its agile working plan which supports flexible working patterns and has already been cited by new employees as motivation for joining the practice.

Larg added: “These results underpin our commitment to our strategic growth plan and the quality and commitment of people we have here in Thorntons to deliver our aims. Looking forward, we have a number of very exciting opportunities on the horizon including the opening of our new Glasgow office and the job creation it will bring, including some posts which we have already filled with the strategic appointment of two new commercial real estate partners based in the city. We are hopeful of being able to announce some other senior hires across our geography in the coming months.

“We are not naïve to the current economic climate, with energy bills at record highs, creating rising costs as we move back into the office. However, we are seeing encouraging signs in many markets, including property where in the residential sector fixed-rate mortgages have been improving across the first quarter of this year and in the commercial sector annual investment volumes in Scottish commercial property continued their upward trajectory in 2022 to the highest since 2019, suggesting a shallower recession than many feared.

“Our commitment to working in close collaboration with our client base, delivering the highest quality of advice and our investment in our people, will ensure the firm continues to flourish.”

Thorntons positions itself as the fourth largest independent legal firm in Scotland.

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