Harper Macleod selects five Partners from McClure Naismith to bolster expanded Edinburgh office

Firm brings in 10 people in total following administration of competitor

Harper Macleod, one of Scotland’s leading law firms, has attracted five new Partners among 10 recruits from fellow Scottish firm McClure Naismith LLP, which entered administration on Friday 28 August.

Hm Lorne Crerar Martin Darroch

An eight-strong Dispute Resolution team, led by three partners, will be joined by partners in Real Estate and Corporate at Harper Macleod’s new, larger Edinburgh offices from Monday, 31 August.

The litigation team is headed by partners John McHugh, E-Ming Fong and Suzanne McGarrigle, while the addition of Philip Sim in Real Estate and Scott Kerr to our Corporate team will take the firm’s number of partners in Edinburgh to 18.

Professor Lorne Crerar, Chairman of Harper Macleod, pictured above left, said: “We are delighted to welcome our new colleagues into the team. We carried out a great deal of diligence to ensure that we brought in those who can add value to our offering to clients, particularly in Edinburgh, and have selected highly talented lawyers who will supplement what we already do.

“John, E-Ming and Suzanne specialise in areas which extend our litigation practice and their addition means we will have a six-partner strong litigation team based in Edinburgh. They are a very highly regarded commercial and public sector litigation team and by also bringing across their support team they will be able to hit the ground running.

“Both Philip and Scott are highly regarded practitioners who will both extend our reach in Corporate and Real Estate work in the city, and complement our wider teams across the country.”

As well as the partners, one Associate, two solicitors and two assistants will join Harper Macleod’s litigation team.

Professor Crerar added that Harper Macleod is intent on further growth in the period ahead. He said: “The Scottish legal profession has endured seismic change over recent years and the role of the management team here at Harper Macleod has been to ensure that such change is an opportunity to build and sustain our business as a leading supplier of legal services in Scotland. I am very pleased that we have grasped the opportunities and risen to the challenge so well. I am in no doubt that the cycle of change has not yet completed and a balanced mixture of organic and acquisitive growth will be the key to our strategy for future success.”

“These appointments demonstrate our intent to continue increasing our market share in the Scottish legal market. We are one of the few truly full service national Scottish firms and that, we believe, will be a cornerstone of our future hopes for success.”

The new faces arrive at their new home following a difficult period for McClure Naismith. Martin Darroch, Chief Executive of Harper Macleod (also pictured) emphasised that the firm had gone out of its way to work with those involved towards reaching a sustainable outcome.

He said: “Since we were made aware that McClure Naismith was in some difficulty we have endeavoured to co-operate with all parties involved to reach the best solution.”

The new recruits represent a significant potential boost of around 6% to Harper Macleod’s turnover, while the move sees the number of partners at Harper Macleod, which achieved record fee income of £22 million in the past financial year, rise to 68.

Last year, Harper Macleod acquired niche private client firm Bird Semple, adding 35 people to its Glasgow operation.

The firm’s overall headcount is now approaching 400 as a result of continued expansion, which also saw it move into a new, larger Edinburgh office at Citypoint, Haymarket at the start of July, tripling its footprint in the city.

Harper Macleod’s value proposition and expertise was most recently recognised in its appointment to all categories of potential legal work for Scottish Government legal work.