… as it seals deal to open Scottish office

Dibb Lupton Alsop has announced its first Scottish office after sealing a deal to acquire Glasgow-based Bird Semple.

The Lawyer reported in November last year that the two firms were in talks, but the fine tuning of the merger took several months.

The last hurdle was how to break off Bird Semple's private client practice, which was agreed on Friday last week. On 2 May, Bird Semple will become part of Dibbs.

Nigel Knowles, managing partner of Dibbs, says: “This is our first Scottish office, but the merger is about moving the market. There is no serious integrated firm in Scotland now.

“From May only one UK firm will have to be instructed for deals that take place in Scotland and England.”

He adds that clients will find this particularly convenient when being advised on property law and litigation, which are significantly different in the two jurisdictions.

Two of Dibbs' major clients are the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is merging with the English National Westminster Bank.

Knowles says: “The fact that we have two very substantial banking clients will not exactly harm the situation.”

Bird Semple's managing partner Gordon Hollerin says: “What we are hoping to get from this merger is that it gives us a depth of resource and abilities we do not have in the Scottish market at the moment.”

The practice is not in the top 10 of Scottish firms at the moment as it has only 19 partners.