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Scottish firm McClure Naismith’s heavy exposure to the transactional markets continued to prove problematic in the 2009-10 financial year, with turnover falling by 11 per cent, from £15.6m to £13.9m.
But according to George Frier, who heads the corporate practice, the firm took steps at the end of 2008-09 and the beginning of 2009-10 to insulate itself against the worst of the recession. During 2008-09 the firm was forced to make 11 redundancies, but in a bid to avoid making any more it introduced an unpaid leave scheme for staff in 2009-10.
“All employees were invited to sign up to take a minimum of eight days and certain units were encouraged to take more,” explains Frier. “We got a very positive response with a 99 per cent take-up.”
While this is continuing in the current year it has taken a reduced form, with staff being asked to take one week of unpaid leave. Those taking part will be awarded bonuses at the end of the year if the firm meets its turnover and profitability targets.
The bulk of the firm’s turnover is generated by its Edinburgh and Glasgow offices, with around 17 per cent coming from its five-partner London base.
Unusually for a Scottish firm outside the so-called big four, McClures has had an office in the City since 1993, specialising in corporate, banking, litigation and projects. The base services clients such as Schroders and Investec.
“We see the London office as increasingly being an offering for the English marketplace and not just a convenience for Scottish clients who have an issue down South,” says Frier. “The most significant work we do in London is for English clients, who view us as an English law office.”
Litigation is the firm’s largest practice group in terms of revenue generation, accounting for 30 per cent of the total in the last financial year, with corporate and property the next biggest groups.
Managing partner: Alan Thomson (above) Turnover: £13.9m Number of partners: 33 Number of lawyers: 86 Number of fee-earners: 115 Main practice areas: Litigation, corporate, property Number of offices: Three Locations: Glasgow, Edinburgh, London Key clients: Lloyds TSB, Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK Government, Coal Pension Properties