Seasonal Stocktake: Cautiously optimistic, but a Scotsman column would help

1. How confident are you about the year ahead?

Cautiously optimistic. With the full impact of public-sector spending cuts not yet clear there may be a few bumps in the road.

However, with the firm having acted on the sale of Production Services Network (PSN) to Wood Group in Scotland recently, and the largest corporate acquisition of the year in Northern Ireland last month, we're hopeful that some confidence is returning to the private sector - which might in turn be followed by a bit of growth.

2. Do you think the economy is out of the woods?

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Not yet, but I think there is a bit more certainty around, which is helpful. We're seeing a lot of businesses moving from survival mode to thinking about how they can take advantage of the market conditions and go for growth.

3. What challenges will 2011 hold for your business?

The legal market is a hugely crowded and competitive marketplace.

Our biggest job is communicating to clients that, through our market-leading expertise in the energy, infrastructure and professional and financial services sectors, we offer something genuinely different.

4. What would help you overcome those challenges?

A regular column in The Scotsman?

5. Was 2010 better or worse than you expected?

We expected a patchy market and that's what we've had. However, as a firm have had great growth in Manchester, doubling in size over the past two years, and the London and Belfast offices go from strength to strength. Independent research shows that we are leading the Scottish market in advising on corporate transactions over the year, and that we have emerged as having the highest turnover of any Scottish headquartered firm, so I think there's plenty to be proud of there.

6. If you could introduce or change one government policy to help your business, what would it be?

Turning Scotland into a low tax haven!

7. Where would you like your business to be by the end of 2011?

I would like us to be recognised as the clear market leader in each of the sectors and geographical areas in which we operate, but that may take a little longer than 12 months. Given the winter so far, maybe an office somewhere hot would be nice!

8. What's the one item or gadget you're going to buy in 2011?

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I've heard one of our competitors in London has started presenting pitches to potential clients on iPads. I'm not sure whether the clients get to keep them after, but if they do, I might ask them to pitch to us.

9. What's your new year's resolution?

To get that iPad

10. Will Andy Murray win Wimbledon?

Of course!

• Richard Masters is managing partner of McGrigors, the law firm.