Chris Kerr, a Partner in the Corporate team at Harper Macleod who has been at the forefront of the firm's growth in the Highlands, Islands and Moray, has been named as one of the UK’s "most daring, innovative and creative lawyers" by a leading legal publication.
He is one of only two lawyers from a Scottish-headquartered firm to feature in The Lawyer magazine’s Hot 100 2020 – a list compiled after months of research into candidates’ client work and contribution to their firms and the profession.
The Lawyer Hot 100 is described as recognising "the lawyers of the moment", stating that "all those on the current list are shaping the legal profession right now".
The magazine said: “When Chris Kerr set up the firm’s first office outside the Scottish Central Belt, he seemed to be bucking a trend. Other Scottish firms were turning their eyes towards the south, but Kerr reckoned they were missing a trick.
"For more than a decade, Kerr has quietly built up the Highlands and Islands practice to nearly a fifth of Harper Macleod’s corporate work. His Highlands, Islands and Moray team now represents 16 per cent of the firm’s workforce.
"Kerr is recognised as the driving force behind Harper Macleod’s rural economy initiative, which is by no means confined to forestry or traditional agriculture but includes food, drink, energy and tech. The next 12 months will see Kerr utilise the firm’s Shetland platform and turn his gaze further afield to Norway, where there are exciting trade and commercial opportunities in infrastructure and the marine economy, and to the Republic of Ireland.”
Kerr, who has been with Harper Macleod since joining as a trainee in 1999, has spearheaded Harper Macleod's growth in the north of Scotland since being part of the team which opened the firm's Inverness office in 2004. Since then he has led the integration of offices in Thurso, Lerwick and Elgin – giving Harper Macleod the largest legal team in the Highlands, Islands and Moray.
As a corporate lawyer he specialises in advising family owned and owner managed businesses and has been at the forefront of businesses transitioning to employee ownership. He is a key member of the firm's corporate team which is recognised as one of Scotland's leading dealmakers.
Chris Kerr said: “As part of a team it's slightly embarrassing to be singled out, but having dedicated so long to building a legal practice in a part of the UK that literally couldn't be any further removed from the London bubble, it's great to see that effort recognised.
"At Harper Macleod we never doubted the potential that the Highlands and Islands held, even when the traditional big name Scottish firms were looking to London, and our venture has outlasted those and created incredible opportunities across so many sectors and new markets.
"I get to work with brilliant people as well as great clients, and being part of a business that is always growing, that encourages you to think outside of the box and be bold, is a fantastic way to spend your career.”