Harper Macleod posts record fee income of £21 million

Harper Macleod LLP, Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, has recorded a 9.5% rise in fee income for the year-ending 31 March 2013.

Yet another year of rapid growth saw income rise from £19.1m to £21m. The firm saw its number of fee earners rise from 166 to 179, up 8% year-on-year, while the number of partners rose from 46 to 53, making it one of Scotland's largest legal partnerships.

Chief Executive Martin Darroch said: "We set a target of breaking through the £20 million barrier and we are delighted to have achieved that goal. It's been a very good year all round, but in reality for us it continues to be business as usual. We have an established no-nonsense strategy and our message has been consistent."

"I think these results mark a coming of age for Harper Macleod. There is now recognition of our place in the market and our position as a full service commercial law firm. Some of our larger competitors have 150 years of a head start but apart from those we've raced ahead of, we're catching every other one and that is our continued opportunity. We have scratched the surface but we've yet to dig further down."

The latest results mean that the firm's fee income has doubled since 2005-06, when it recorded £10.5m, at a time when the Scottish legal market and wider economy have endured a difficult financial climate.

Harper Macleod has continued to grow it's headcount over the past 12 months. Over the course of the year 24 new lawyers joined the firm's offices, with five in Edinburgh, two in Inverness and 17 in the Glasgow headquarters.

Significant additions include three partners from McClure Naismith, including a new Infrastructure and Projects team and a wave and tidal expert to add to the firm's existing award winning Energy & Natural Resources team.

The new lawyers were spread throughout the firm's sectors and practice areas, with a particular focus on finance and restructuring where Partner Gordon Hollerin joined from Semple Fraser.

There were also three additions to the real estate team, three to corporate and two into both public sector and employment.

In March 2013 Harper Macleod announced a new recruitment drive aimed at bringing in up to 20 new lawyers, with six already lined up within the first six weeks of the campaign.

As well as lateral hires, the firm has continued to develop its own talent with seven promotions in January, including three new Partners, and another three promotions to Associate on 1 April.

Darroch added: "Our growth has been driven by gaining additional market share across all of our sectors. First of all that requires retaining all of the talented people we want to retain. Secondly we supplement that with other talented people who will add something extra to the business for our clients."

As well as significant business wins, such as Forestry Commission Scotland, the firm's role as Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has proved to be a major plus point over the past 12 months.

Darroch said: "Glasgow 2014 is working well for us. Not just as a client but from a brand awareness perspective as well. It's the most complicated global and cultural sporting event in Scottish history and we're doing a lot of the legal work on it. No one else in negotiating those deals and no one else will be able to say they have that experience. From a commercial perspective and understanding sensitivities and real mass of project management and change management processes I think that puts us on a genuinely different level from most of our competitors. I think that says a lot about the firm and links in to our steady growth."