Firm profile: Harper Mcleod

Glasgow-based firm Harper McLeod aims to break the £10m turnover mark at the end of its financial year this month (April), which managing partner Lorne Crerar sees as “an important milestone”.

In addition to hitting the £10m turnover target, the firm’s other key plan for 2006 is to strengthen its corporate finance arm, HM Corporate Solutions.
Harper McLeod claims to be the only law firm in Scotland to be able to offer legal and corporate finance services under one roof, with partner Donnie Munro heading the corporate practice. For the longer term, Crerar says the firm’s objectives are simply to be the “law firm of choice for clients and lawyers in Scotland” and “to achieve growth”.

The full-service law firm, with 23 practice groups, has been in operation for 18 years. Its eight key practices are: banking, corporate, commodities, insolvency, litigation, public sector, insurance and commercial property. Crerar says the firm also “plans to build on the growth potential offered by the projects and healthcare markets”.

The firm has four offices, including two in Glasgow, one of which is situated in the same building as client Direct Line Insurance, and is made up of seven lawyers.

Major deals Harper McLeod has been involved with in recent months include the management buyout of a design and manufacturing centre at Vale of Leven, northwest of Glasgow, from parent company Polaroid UK by newly formed company Wideblue, the formation of a growth fund for a hotel partnership, and the acquisition of oil pipeline welding company Umax by French pipeline welders Serimer Dasa Holdings.

A six-member board oversees the management of the firm, which is made up of Crerar and three practice areas heads, as well as the directors of finance and marketing.

On regional strategy, Crerar says that Harper McLeod is “a Scottish firm, serving Scotland”. Internationally, the firm is part of the European Legal Alliance, of which Field Fisher Waterhouse is the English representative.

Crerar says lateral hires at the firm are rare, as the firm’s culture is to promote from within. However, the last lateral hire was that of corporate and commercial partner Steven Dunn, who joined the firm in January 2006 from Edinburgh-based firm Burness, where he was head of pensions. Other recent laterals have included Fraser Hardie, who joined as a property partner from DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary in September last year, and DLA Piper Scotland head of infrastructure Norman Oliver, who joined as a PFI and projects partner in January 2005.

Managing partner: Lorne Crerar
Senior partner: Rod McKenzie
Turnover: £9.8m
Total number of equity partners: 17
Total number of fee-earners: 96
Main practice areas: Banking, corporate, commodities, recoveries and insolvency, litigation, public sector, insurance, commercial property
Key clients: Allied Irish Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Direct Line Insurance, Lloyds TSB, Scottish Executive, Scottish Premier League, William Hill
Number of offices: Four
Locations: Edinburgh, Glasgow (two offices), Inverness