News In Focus
Burness and Paull & Williamsons announce merger
9 October 2012
Burness LLP and Paull & Williamsons LLP, two of Scotland's leading commercial law practices, announced their merger today.
Coming into being on 1 December 2012, the combined firm willl be known as Burness Paull & Williamsons. With 60 partners among 158 lawyers and a total of 400 staff, it will become one of the two largest law firms in terms of turnover and resource in Scotland.
Based on 2011-12 figures, the merged firm will have a turnover of £37.6m. Burness, which has about 35 partners, reported turnover of £24.3m for last year and Paull & Williamsons, with 23 partners, £13.9m. Among firms with operations exclusively in Scotland, only Brodies is larger, its 76 partners delivering turnover of £42m on latest figures. Like Brodies, the merging firms have shown strong growth in recent years.
By way of comparison, Shepherd and Wedderburn, which has a sizeable London office, yesterday announced revenues for 2011-12 almost unchanged at £37m.
Burness chairman Philip Rodney will become chairman of the new firm, and his managing partner colleague Ian Wattie will also retain his role. Paull & Williamsons' managing partner Scott Allan will be deputy managing partner, with Gordon Buchan sitting on the board as a consultant.
Mr Rodney said: “The merger will create a firm with established offices of similar size in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The new firm will hold an unparalleled position in the Scottish legal landscape by virtue of the quality, depth, expertise and balance of its resources across the three cities."
The Burness chairman said that together, the two firms could "field deeply resourced teams to service all sectors of the Scottish economy". He added: “Unlike many of our rivals, both firms have elected not to open a London office. We have instead concentrated on our markets, and succeeded in building a large base of international clients from Scotland.”
For Paull & Williamsons, Scott Allan said: “Both firms have had several approaches to merge in the past, but it is hard to imagine a better fit. Our culture, ambitions and focus on quality are shared; our geography, clients and expertise are complementary and our combined objective, to be the leading Scottish commercial law firm serving Scottish, UK and international clients in and from Scotland, reflects our common ethos."
Claiming "strong international credentials" which presented significant potential for the merged business, he added: "We assist our clients achieve their ambitions, with Norway, Brazil, the Middle East and the US being active markets for the oil & gas team, and the US and Europe having become increasingly important to the funds and corporate finance teams.”
Both firms have performed very strongly despite the difficult market conditions. The exceptional performance of Burness’ Corporate Finance, Funds and Dispute Resolution teams has propelled this growth, achieving almost 25% growth over the last three years.