Firm profile: Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern is in the throes of change, transforming from a traditional private client practice to a full-service firm in direct competition with the leaders of the Scottish market.

Anderson Strathern” />Chairman: Robert Carr
Managing partner: Robert Stimpson
Turnover: £13.8m
Total number of partners: 34
Total number of fee-earners: 147
Main practice areas: Employment, land resources, dispute resolution
Key clients: T-Mobile, Securicor Group, Allied Irish Bank, the National Trust for Scotland
Number of offices: Four
Location: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Haddington, Currie

Anderson Strathern is in the throes of change, transforming from a traditional private client practice to a full-service firm in direct competition with the leaders of the Scottish market.

“Formidable but friendly” is how chairman Robert Carr describes his firm. He points to Anderson Strathern’s dynamic turnover growth, which has increased by 39 per cent in three years to reach £13.8m this year.

Carr says the firm’s relaxed working culture and longstanding client relationships balance this growth to give the firm a friendly touch.

After formulating a three-year business plan last summer, Carr says his ambition is to push Anderson Strathern for promotion to the premier league of Scottish firms, which is currently led by Dundas & Wilson, McGrigors and Shepherd & Wedderburn.

To do this Carr says the firm needs to act on more commercial, real estate and dispute resolution matters and become a full-service law firm.

“In terms of cover, we’re not there with the Baker & McKenzies,” says Carr. “But we want to be the best full-service law firm in Scotland – it’s a very clear mission statement.”

Carr brought in external business consultants to work through the new business plan and also put together a team to talk to clients about the type of services they would like to see added at the firm.

The extra consultancy expenses seem to be justified, with Anderson Strathern having completed a number of varied deals and matters.

The firm advised BAA on the creation of an £801m property joint venture with Morley Fund Management and is also assisting on the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine railway project.

In January, Anderson Strathern acted for Quercus on the £20m acquisition of care homes in Nottingham, Cumbria and Bristol. And the firm provides new client Cricket Scotland with governance, employment and contract advice in preparation for the Cricket World Cup in 2007.

To keep referrals flowing in from England and Wales, the firm maintains special relationships with Charles Russell in London, Brabners Chaffe Street in Liverpool and Morgan Cole in Cardiff.

Carr says there are no current plans for an Anderson Strathern office outside Scotland, but this may be reviewed in 2008 when the next business plan takes shape.

Carr predicts that the next few years will sort the wheat from the chaff among the smaller players in Scotland. “I think we’ll see consolidation in the small to medium-sized law firms in Scotland,” says Carr. “Those that survive will be the ones that make good investments in IT and people.”