Legal heavyweight Brodies cheers seven years of growth

Brodies, the Scottish legal heavyweight, has emerged from a 'very busy and at times quite dramatic year' to report its seventh consecutive period of revenue and profit growth.

Brodies managing partner Bill Drummond. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Brodies managing partner Bill Drummond. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Releasing its headline financial results today, the Edinburgh-headquartered firm said revenues grew by 2.4 per cent to a record £66.7 million in the year to the end of April.

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Over the same period, profits before partner distributions nudged up 2.6 per cent to £31.7m and the firm’s cash balances increased by 14.4 per cent to £18.2m.

Brodies, which also has offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Brussels, said it had continued to invest in its services despite the political and economic uncertainty that followed last June’s EU referendum.

Managing partner Bill Drummond said: “All in all, it has been a very busy and at times quite dramatic year for Brodies and our clients, which underscores our satisfaction in recording another year of enhanced business performance for the firm across a number of measures.

“Along with most of our clients – British or overseas – at Brodies we were surprised by the news, on 24 June last year, that the UK had voted to leave the EU and the consequences for Brexit and the economy are now having to be further digested following the UK general election result and the absence of any one party with a clear majority at Westminster.

“Against this backdrop the increase in income that we are reporting is a satisfactory outcome for the year, indeed a new high point for the firm.”

Drummond said he hoped politicians would be “pragmatic and collaborative” in their dealings with their EU counterparts to ensure that “as little economic damage as possible is done”.

He added: “To us, as with many clients, it is especially important that Scotland is able to retain and welcome workers from the EU and elsewhere who make such a valuable contribution to most sectors of our economy.”

The firm currently comprises 94 partners, 311 other professional advisers – including 18 graduate recruits who joined the firm on 1 July to take up training contracts – and 217 support staff.

It highlighted a number of achievements during the past year including acting as lead legal adviser to Aberdeen City Council on its landmark bond issue on the London Stock Exchange, advising Scottish Water commercial offshoot Business Stream on its acquisition of Southern Water’s non-domestic business and acting as lead adviser to ScotRail operator Abellio on its sale of 40 per cent of the Greater Anglia rail franchise to global conglomerate Mitsui & Co. It completed the third year of its 2014/18 strategic plan.

Brodies is ranked as the largest indigenous legal firm by number of lawyers. Last week, rival Maclay Murray & Spens (MMS) revealed that it is to merge with global legal giant Dentons in a move that will see the long established MMS name disappear.

The disappearance of the brand will follow that of McGrigors, which merged with Pinsent Masons in 2012, and Dundas & Wilson, which was swallowed by London-based CMS the following year.

Other key players in the Scottish market include Shepherd & Wedderburn, Burness Paull and Anderson Strathern.