Bond Pearce picks up Maclays quartet ahead of Dickinson Dees tie-up

Bond Pearce has announced the hire of four oil and gas partners in Aberdeen from Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens as it prepares for its merger with Dickinson Dees.

The South West-based firm, which ended merger talks with Maclays earlier this year (14 March 2012), has hired a team including its oil and gas head Uisdean Vass.

Vass, fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, has oil industry experience in the North Sea, Louisiana, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil, with his hire coming after Dickinson Dees managing partner Jonathan Blair confirmed merged firm Bond Dickinson’s plans to expand beyond the UK following the tie-up (10 December 2012).

Bond Pearce is also hiring Maclays oil, gas and offshore wind partner Richard Cockburn, corporate partner Gordon Hobkirk – a specialist in SMEs and entrepreneurs in the oil service sector – and real estate partner Fraser Leslie.

The news comes just over a week after partners at Bond Pearce and Dickinson Dees voted through the merger, which is set to go live in May (7 December 2012).

The firm said in a statement: “We have established a significant client base in Aberdeen since opening our Scottish office in the city in 2007. It remains an area of strategic importance and as a vibrant market is a key target, along with London, for expansion.”

Bond Pearce energy head Luke Gabb added: “This provides us with an excellent platform for further growth, with many clients engaged in both renewables and oil and gas business. Expanding our office in Aberdeen makes great business sense because it is a key location for the oil and gas industry and the wider energy sector and we will continue to consider other opportunities.”

The firm currently acts for energy clients including E.ON, BHP, Total and RWE npower renewables.

Maclays CEO Chris Smylie said in a statement: “I can confirm that four partners from our Aberdeen office have resigned. Within the last month we have announced additional resource for the office in partners Stuart Fitzsimmons and David McGrory in banking and finance and corporate respectively.

“In addition, Adam Watson, an employment specialist, has relocated to Aberdeen. These changes all took effect from 1 December and we are already seeing the benefits of these moves. We are well advanced in our plans to reinforce our oil and gas team both in Aberdeen and London. There will, therefore, be no gap in service provision for our Aberdeen clients as a result of these departures.

“I am very clear that in each market we service we need to have the very best lawyers available locally. We are accelerating our plans for recruitment in line with that objective, in addition to relocating some of our own excellent lawyers where appropriate.

“We are absolutely clear about the role and importance of our Aberdeen office and had already been taking steps to add to the high quality service we offer in Aberdeen, to the benefit of our clients in the North East.”