Merger on the dancefloor

If you’re struggling to keep up with the pace of change in England’s legal market, then it might be best not to pay too much heed to what’s going on in Scotland.

Since the beginning of the year Tods Murray has taken on Fyfe Ireland, Pinsent Masons has absorbed McGrigors, DWF has bolted on Biggart Baillie and Shoosmiths has merged with Archibald Campbell. And now Burness has joined the party, merging with Aberdeen’s Paull & Williamsons.

The latest merger will create a £37.6m firm with equal coverage of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow – Scotland’s ‘golden triangle’, according to Burness chairman Philip Rodney – shaking up the established order of things north of the border.

With the so-called big four of Dundas & Wilson, Maclay Murray & Spens, McGrigors and Shepherd & Wedderburn blown apart by merger and the rise of Brodies and Burness, the question now is not will the remaining firms resort to merger, but when?

With the Scottish legal market changing at a Dashing White Sergeant pace, they’d better hurry up and get their dance cards marked.


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