Dundas, Weightmans join Semple Fraser carve-up

Dundas & Wilson and Weightmans have joined Maclay Murray & Spens in snapping up parts of Semple Fraser, but 62 staff from the collapsed Scottish firm will still be left out in the cold.

Weightmans has agreed to buy Semple Fraser’s Manchester office. Under the deal, all 14 staff in Semple Fraser’s Manchester office, including the two partners, will transfer to Weightmans’ office in the city. Weightmans has also hired a partner and two staff from Semple Fraser in Glasgow and bought clients from the firm, and will create its own Scottish construction practice.

Dundas & Wilson has also bought work-in-progress from Semple Fraser and hired six partners from its Edinburgh office. The sales come after Maclay Murray & Spens hired seven partners from Semple Fraser’s Edinburgh and Glasgow offices on 8 March (8 March 2013). Three Semple Fraser partners have also joined other practices in Edinburgh, but the names of these firms are not yet known.

The sales were arranged by RSM Tenon partners Tom MacLennan and Kenny Craig, who have been appointed joint administrators of Semple Fraser.

According to a statement on behalf of the joint administrators, 12 of Semple Fraser’s trainees will be able to complete their training contracts at other firms, including the three mentioned above. However, with the exception of seven staff who will be kept on by the administrators, all remaining 62 staff in Glasgow and Edinburgh will lose their jobs.

In a statement, MacLennan said: “The events of the last few weeks have been very demanding for the partners and staff of Semple Fraser and I would like to express our appreciation for their commitment and professionalism in addressing the difficulties as we worked to achieve the best outcome for clients and staff in very difficult circumstances.

“I would also pay particular appreciation to various legal practices that have stepped in to ensure all legal trainees would be able to complete their training and to The Law Society of Scotland and the Solicitors Regulation Authority for their support and assistance during this process.

”Semple Fraser’s management told staff it was filing notice to appoint administrators on 6 March 2013 (6 March 2013). The Lawyer reported on 5 March that Semple Fraser’s offices were looking at rescue deals and were in talks with the three firms (5 March 2013).