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SCOTTISH commercial firms need to be much more up-front about fees, according to independent research on client needs commissioned by Edinburgh firm Morton Fraser Milligan WS.
The research was based on in-depth interviews with 10 prestigious commercial clients. It revealed that corporate clients want pricing based on the value of the job, not the time taken to complete it.
They want fixed fees for transactions of a commodity nature, such as debt recovery, and want work to be conducted by junior staff members to reduce costs.
But clients are prepared to pay more for technical specialist work. They often cite Dickson Minto as an example of a good niche practice.
Morton Fraser has revised its structure in light of the research. As from this month the partnership will consist of four separate businesses, with Gordon Kerr as chief executive.
Morton Fraser Commercial will concentrate solely on commercial work, under managing director Craig Bowman. Linda Urquhart becomes managing director of the private client division, Morton Fraser Milligan.
Morton Fraser International is a new division, offering a global legal and relocation services. It has offices in St Albans and Edinburgh. Bruce Wood is managing director.
Gordon Kerr remains as managing director of Morton Fraser Relocation, with Birmingham and Edinburgh offices. Its service is for clients moving employees within the UK.
Kerr said: "The survey was a wonderful catalyst for change.
"This structure has a flexible approach. Rather than waiting for multidisciplinary practices to arrive, there is no reason why we can't offer a range of business services which all have legal services at their core."