Give us a break

With devolution on the political agenda, we asked the top 50 Scottish firms if they want a separate Scottish legislature. Almost 60 per cent were in favour. From the legal professional's viewpoint, although there is separate Scottish legislation, moving it outside London would make it clearer.

One firm says: “A separate Scottish legislature in the UK, not necessarily an independent one, would demonstrate continuing recognition of the separate legal system. It would allow time for Scottish business to receive the attention it merits.”

Politics aside, although cynics ascribe some of the current business to preparations for a change in government, it has been a steady year, with most firms consolidating.

Maclays started the year as dealmaker of 1995, according to figures supplied to Scottish Business Insider, having been instructed in 76 deals, with McGrigor Donald second with 64, and Dundas & Wilson with 56. The recent trend has been for some firms to be the “kilt on an English initiative”, being joint legal advisers or involved as consultants on a number of Scottish projects. Over 55 per cent of firms think such links will result in more opportunities for them. One partner says: “With Scottish solicitors becoming more involved in transactions in England, links are inevitable”.

Dundas & Wilson has been expanding its Glasgow office, and McGrigors has recruited to strengthen its London office, and retains its position as the largest firm in fee earner numbers. Maclays and Shepherd and Wedderburn also expanded.