McGrigor Donald plans UK growth

Scotland's largest law firm, McGrigor Donald, is on an expansion drive with joint ventures planned for the US and new offices being considered in both England and Scotland.

The 55-partner firm says it has rejected several merger offers from Dibb Lupton Alsop and is planning to expand alone, its managing partner reveals.

The firm is extending its London office, starting with the appointment of bio-science specialist Catriona Macritchie as partner in the technology department from August. She will shortly be joined by a new assistant.

Macritchie, who left MacGrigors shortly after qualifying seven years ago, has been poached from the in-house legal department of Scotland-based Scotia Pharmaceuticals.

McGrigors' expansion plans were revealed by UK managing partner Kirk Murdoch on the opening day of the Law Society of Scotland's 50th anniversary conference.

Murdoch says: “We want to see ourselves more as a UK law firm rather than a Scottish heavyweight.”

McGrigors recently moved into Belfast and is now looking at further openings.

Says Murdoch: “I suspect we will see movement into one or two other areas. The North East or North West of England and/or Aberdeen are obvious places, to follow the clients.

“Our aspirations internationally look more Stateside. We have connections with IP and IT firms on the west coast. We have 'friends' there at the moment, not alliances, and we would like to move two or three key relationships on.”

Robert Glennie, the firm's senior partner in London and, Shonaig Macpherson, the firm's managing partner in Edinburgh have been charged with taking these plans forward, he says.

Murdoch adds that more lateral hires – at least two – are likely to be completed in the next three or four months.

A merger, he says, is not on the cards despite, he says, several overtures.

“Dibbs have knocked on our door many times but it doesn't sit with our strategy,” says Murdoch.