Morton Fraser, which has been providing legal advice since 1614, and 150-year-old MacRoberts have joined forces to become one of the “big four” independent Scottish firms by revenue, alongside Brodies, Burness Paull, and Shepherd & Wedderburn.
The newly merged entity, Morton Fraser MacRoberts, will have a team of 250 solicitors and revenue of £46 million, which is believed to be 30% higher than its closest rival.
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And it will be led by Chris Harte, current chief executive of Morton Fraser, with Neil Kennedy, managing partner of MacRoberts, becoming chief operating officer.
The two firms were said to be performing well ahead of the deal, having experienced consistent revenue and profit growth in recent years.
Edinburgh-based Morton Fraser has around 190 team members, while MacRoberts, which is headquartered in Glasgow, has slightly fewer with more than 160 members of staff, according to the firms’ respective websites.
The most recent accounts for Morton Fraser at Companies House show that the firm increased profit before members’ remuneration and profit shares by 21% to £8.4m in the year ended April 30, 2022, as fee income climbed by 16% to £23.9m. Both figures were “higher than they have ever been”.
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MacRoberts reported a 17% rise in profit before tax, members’ remuneration, and profit shares to £6.9m, up from £5.9m, on turnover up 10% to £20.6m, for the year to April 30, 2022.
Mr Harte said: “The time has come for a new style of law firm within Scotland’s top tier. Morton Fraser and MacRoberts are complementary firms, built on similar values.
“We are both known for our user-friendly, people-centred approach and those qualities will continue to drive our thinking for the future. By merging, we will compete even more strongly in our chosen markets, while offering something truly unique for the top tier.”
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Mr Kennedy added: “This is a great move for our people and our clients. Joining our collective talents and resources will help us to accelerate our growth, offering greater strength in depth and more wide-ranging services to clients.
“We are committed to excellence at every turn and will be focusing heavily on how our newly merged business can invest in talent and technology. It is an exciting time.”
Work is now under way on the creation of a new brand identity for the combined business. The merger is projected to go live on November 1, 2023, subject to regulatory and other approvals.
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