Merger-hungry national firm Eversheds is set to open an office in Scotland in a move which could lead to a radical shake-up in the legal market north of the border.
Earlier this year, Eversheds swallowed more than half of Frere Cholmeley Bischoff including its Paris and Moscow offices. Next month it also formally takes over 22-lawyer Cambridge practice Palmer Wheeldon.
Now senior sources at the firm have told The Lawyer that establishing a base in Scotland is one of its top strategic priorities.
Apart from Masons' small Glasgow office, no English firm has successfully penetrated the Scottish market.
Eversheds' standard modus operandi is to take over a local firm, rather than set up a brand new office. Speculation has centred on 21-partner McClure Naismith, which has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.
Frank Johnstone, a partner with McClure Naismith, said: "We would be interested in any approach."