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Shepherd & Wedderburn acquires Tods Murray on administration

4 October 2014

Old-established Edinburgh and Glasgow legal firm Tods Murray went into administration late yesterday – and its practice was immediately acquired by larger rival Shepherd & Wedderburn.

The deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, will see the immediate transfer of all 32 Tods Murray partners and 136 staff to Shepherd & Wedderburn, along with the assets, goodwill and work in progress. However staff were warned that redundancies were likely to follow.

Tom MacLennan and Iain Fraser, partners with FRP Advisory, were appointed as joint administrators to Tods Murray, which was founded in 1856. Mr MacLennan said: “Tods Murray had exhausted every option to turn the business around, and was faced with an unsustainable gap between high fixed costs and income. Administration was the only alternative for the firm, but we are delighted that Shepherd & Wedderburn has acquired the Tods Murray business, and will provide the partners and staff with a stronger platform from which to service their clients.”

Stephen Gibb, chief executive of Shepherd and Wedderburn, commented: “We welcome this arrangement which was an excellent business opportunity to acquire a quality team of lawyers with an established and respected client base, and is ideally timed for our business. A statutory consultation period, involving Tods Murray employees, will commence on Monday which is likely to lead to a number of redundancies, following which all teams will transfer to our existing offices. This acquisition is a further significant step forward in our established growth strategy.”

David Dunsire, executive partner of Tods Murray said: “We are grateful for the support of our clients over the years and look forward to working with our new colleagues at Shepherd and Wedderburn.”

Founded in 1922, Shepherd & Wedderburn has 64 partners and 330 staff, with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and London.

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, commented: “We are very sad to hear that Tods Murray has gone into administration. It represents the loss of a long established and very highly regarded Scottish law firm."

While confident that arrangements were being made to ensure as little disruption as possible to the firm’s clients, she continued: "We are very aware that this will be a difficult and uncertain time for everyone affected by today’s announcement. We already have a range of support services available to solicitors for these kinds of situations and we will be offering our help and support to those who need it.

“We are encouraged to know that all trainee places this year and for the next two years will be honoured by Shepherd & Wedderburn."

Ms Jack added:"While the profession overall has been robust in weathering the downturn, today’s announcement shows that we cannot take things for granted, even as the economy shows signs of recovery."


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