Scottish private client firm Turcan Connell launches Glasgow base

Scottish law firm Turcan Connell is set to expand into the west of Scotland with the opening of a new office in Glasgow.

The private client specialist, which already has offices in Edinburgh, London, Guernsey and Geneva, has revealed that it is in advanced negotiations to sign a lease on a site close to George Square.

The new office is set to open in September this year and will continue Turcan Connell’s multidisciplinary approach of focusing on wealth management services, family law as well as trust, tax and charity giving advice.

The choice of location followed feedback from research carried out by the firm at the end of 2011, according to joint senior partner Douglas Connell. “At the end of last year we carried out some research with several hundred people including existing clients, potential clients and key influencers,” he said. “There were several key messages that arose from the research, including positive demand for more locally available advice in the west of Scotland.”

Connell said that recruitment for the new office will be “gradual” and will be in line with the firm’s existing succession planning strategy and multidisciplinary approach. He added that the firm has no plans to make major lateral hires in the Glasgow area in the short term.

“We’re setting up an office in response to demand in Glasgow,” he said. “We’ll not be making any major lateral hires but as demand grows we’ll be recruiting more lawyers, probably more at the junior end.”

The new office will have capacity for 20 fee-earners.

Turcan Connell spun out of Dundas & Wilson in 1997 and today has 300 staff, with 80-90 lawyers alongside a large number of other professionals, including tax advisers, financial advisers and wealth management specialists.

Turnover at the firm rose from £21.9m in 2009-10 to £22.3m in 2010-11.

Although the Legal Services Act does not apply in Scotland, Connell noted that a regulatory structure for alternative business structures (ABS) may be in place north of the border by the end of this calendar year.

“I understand that the Law Society of Scotland will soon be in a position to regulate ABS in the next few months, so we hope that we’ll be able to convert into an ABS structure in September or October this year,” he said.

Turcan Connell was one of the first Scottish firms to show an interest in alternative business structures and is aiming to be the first to implement this in Scotland (11 June 2007).

For Connell, the prospect of the ABS structure would be of real benefit to his firm. “We as a business regard it as an opportunity and I think that it makes sense for an interdisciplinary firm like Turcan Connell that lawyers are able to combine with accountants, financial planners etc and share resources and provide added value to clients,” he said.

Connell said that the firm has already contractually come to an agreement to promote a number of its senior non-lawyers to equity partners once it has converted to an ABS.