Update: Law Society reacts to collapse of Scots legal firm Morisons

Scottish law firm Morisons LLP, which has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh and some 90 partners and staff, has entered administration.

The well-known law firm has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The well-known law firm has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Some of the firm’s assets have been bought by rival firms Thorntons and Blackadders but several posts are likely to go it was confirmed over the weekend.

Tom MacLennan and Iain Fraser, partners with FRP Advisory, have been appointed joint administrators of Morisons, which can trace its roots back to the 1860s.

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Prior to the administration the firm had 16 partners and employed 74 people across its two offices.

The deals, which are for an undisclosed sum, see eight Morisons partners and 41 staff transferring to Thorntons, and three partners and 30 staff transferring to Blackadders. A further three partners are moving to Gilson Gray in Edinburgh, Weightmans in Glasgow and one undisclosed firm where negotiations are ongoing.

There are no immediate redundancies. However, Thorntons and Blackadders will next week begin a redundancy consultation period with some former Morisons staff while simultaneously undertaking a review of their “staff structures and requirements”.

It is hoped that some 45 staff positions will be saved as a result of the rescue deals.

MacLennan said: “We are pleased that Thorntons and Blackadders have agreed deals to acquire certain assets, goodwill and work-in-progress of Morisons, thus ensuring continuity of client service, preserving employment and safeguarding client service. We wish the newly enlarged businesses every success.”

Craig Nicol, managing partner of Thorntons, said: “Morisons was a long-standing, highly respected firm with a high profile in the Central Belt, and this acquisition will further strengthen our position in the Edinburgh market.

“Our priority will be to provide a seamless transition for clients to ensure they continue to receive an excellent service, and to integrate those partners and employees moving across into our Edinburgh team.”

Johnston Clark, managing partner of Blackadders, added: “This acquisition underpins Blackadders’ investment in our people and our business and will position us for continued, strategic growth.”

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “We are very sad to hear that Morisons has gone into administration. It represents the loss of a highly regarded Scottish law firm operating in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“We are confident that arrangements are being put in place to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible for the firm’s clients.

“There has been ongoing, significant change within the legal services sector which, combined with a challenging economic environment, continues to have an impact on law firms.”

It follows the high-profile collapse of Scots legal practice Tods Murray in 2014.