Masons constructs office north of the border

MASONS has become only the third English firm after Cameron Mckenna and Thompsons to set up in Scotland by poaching two of Scotland's leading construction lawyers.

The firm has hired McGrigor Donald partner Vincent Connor – who was number two in McGrigors' top-rated construction department – and senior solicitor Ian Laing, to open an associated office in Glasgow in a bid to grab a slice of the lucrative PFI and construction work north of the border.

Dundas & Wilson head of construction Alastair Morrison and senior associate Fraser Macmillan will also join Connor “at a date to be fixed”, according to Masons senior partner John Bishop.

Bishop said Masons had targeted the PFI market in Scotland because “construction industry spending there is second only to the south-east of England”.

But both McGrigors and Dundas & Wilson warned Masons that the Scottish market was a tough one to crack.

McGrigors managing partner Kirk Murdoch said: “They will find it a very competitive market either from us or our Scottish competitors.”

Murdoch said that McGrigors would still have a team of 12 lawyers dedicated to construction and PFI work.

Both Connor and Morrison will become partners in Masons' international partnership as well as the separate Scottish partnership required by Law Society of Scotland rules.

Connor said he had been very happy at McGrigors but that the opportunity to join Masons was “a very exciting one”.

The opening of a Scottish office comes only two weeks after The Lawyer reported that Masons had succeeded in taking PFI partners Ian Fairbairn and Cathryn Vickers from Bristol firm Bevan Ashford.

The opening of the office in Glasgow brings Masons' total number of offices to 10.