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Harper Macleod set for further Edinburgh expansion after a record 2013

Harper Macleod, one of Scotland's leading law firms, is planning further growth in its Edinburgh-based operation after its Melville Street office delivered record results in 2013.

At the same time as a number of prominent legal names left the Scottish market due to takeover, the firm embarked on a series of key lateral hires throughout 2013, more than doubling the number of Partners on the ground in the capital to nine.

The move resulted in fee income from lawyers solely based there rising by a remarkable 42%, a figure that doesn't yet take into account the full effect of several high-profile lateral hires in the latter part of the year.

At the same time, fees for clients based in the East of Scotland grew by 23% in 2013, at £4.55 million accounting for almost 21% of the firm's overall turnover of £21 million.

Martin Darroch, chief executive of Harper Macleod, said: "Our strategy has always been one of organic, sustainable growth in the Scottish market, and that has served us well as we delivered consistent growth during a period which has proved difficult for many others within the industry.

"To us, the rapidly changing face of the legal scene presents opportunities, particularly for firms with a purely Scottish identity. It's this, and demand from clients, that has led us to increase our presence in Edinburgh and it shows no sign of slowing down. If we continue to see the activity we expect to see, then we will be looking to increase our footprint even further and take more space in the city."

The firm's growth has led to an increase in specialist, high-value work for clients being serviced from Melville Street, with a particular focus on Real Estate, Energy & Natural Resources and the establishment of a phenomenally successful Infrastructure and Projects team.

Euan Pirie and Euan Mitchell arrived from McClure Naismith early in 2013 to set up I&P team. The team is close to completing transactions which would take the total value on the deals it has done past the £1 billion mark in just over a year.

Steven Brown joined soon after, also from McClure Naismith, and his expertise in the marine energy sector strengthened Harper Macleod's existing award-winning Energy & Natural Resources team, which already has a significant presence in the capital led by Partner Pamela Todd. The Energy team recently saw off major UK competition to become lead advisers on the Codling Wind Park, one of Europe's biggest offshore wind projects off the coast of Ireland.

At the end of the year they were joined by two more important additions. Ken Ross, a former managing partner at Burness and a very well known and highly respected figure in the Edinburgh legal scene, joined from Balfour+Manson.

Ross brings with him a significant commercial law practice across many disciplines with an impressive client base of domestic and international institutions operating in a diverse range of sectors including higher education, retail, projects, renewables, property development and funding, healthcare and life sciences, public sector, logistics, engineering and manufacturing.

The firm also added Chris Noble who joins the firm's Real Estate & Construction team as a Partner with a particular focus on retail property clients. Chris joins from DWF Biggart Baillie.

Chris has acted for some of the UK high street's best known retail brands in every major retail location in Scotland in respect of their property requirements.

Martin Darroch, added: "These moves are a further demonstration of our continued commitment to developing our presence in key sectors, particularly those in which we anticipate recovery such as real estate, construction and projects. Bringing in such senior, well respected figures will also build on the excellence we already have in areas including energy and renewables and major projects."