Lindsays open to merger deals in Scottish market

Alasdair Cummings

Scots lawyers Lindsays have said it has no intention of merging with an English firm but is nevertheless open to opportunities as the Scottish legal sector continues to consolidate.

The firm is forecasting a “significant” increase in turnover in its next set of financial results come March after it merged with Dundee’s RSB Macdonald earlier this year, it told The Scotsman.

Alasdair Cummings, managing partner, said the firm was not interested in being taken over by a firm south of the border and that Lindsays was galvanised by celebrations marking its impressive 200-year history.

It traces its origins to Edinburgh in 1815 when John MacKenzie Lindsay and his cousin Frederick Foetheringham began practising in Mr Fotheringham’s mother’s house on George Street.

However, Mr Cummings did not discount the possibility of the firm making further deals in which it would be the lead partner. Ian Beattie, its chief operating officer, said Lindsays is still looking to grow its core areas of business.

Mr Cummings said: “We are not the only law firm around that is talking to people. There is a lot of that going on right now.”

Since the financial crash in 2008 law firms in Scotland have had to adapt. This meant the loss of Dundas & Wilson and McGrigor’s who merged with CMS and Pinsent Masons respectively.

Last year Tods Murray was absorbed from administration by Shepherd and Wedderburn while this year McClure Naismith fell into administration. Simpson and Marwickmerged with global behemoth Clyde & Co in October and speculation arose recently thatMaclay Murray and Spens had agreed a merger for next summer with English firm Addleshaw Goddard – rumours which both firms played down.

But Lindsays is buoyant following its merger in July with RSB, giving it a presence in the prospering Dundee market which has benefited from the city’s £1 billion waterfront development.

“There is a buzz about the place that I think most people would recognise has not been there in the past,” Mr Cummings said.

Lindsays turnover is now £13 million, up from £10m in 2008. It branched out into Glasgow in 2008 after merging with Kidstons before following this up with two deals in 2012 – a merger with Shield & Kyd in Dundee and MacLachlan & MacKenzie in Edinburgh.

The firm now has 40 partners and 185 staff, a boost from 30 partners and 150 staff in 2008.

Mr Beattie said: “Our view is that we would be surprised if there isn’t more change and consolidation in the market.

“The firms that have done well are the ones that have been effectively managed. In that sense, the issues facing the legal sector are like those in any business.”

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