Shepherd and Wedderburn marks 250th anniversary with record revenue and profits

Stephen Gibb

Shepherd and Wedderburn, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and London, has reported record revenues and profits on the day it celebrates its 250th anniversary.

The firm’s revenues rose 6 per cent to £53.5 million in its financial year to 30 April 2018, and profits before partner distributions increased 10 per cent to £22 million over the same period.

Shepherd and Wedderburn, which currently comprises 78 partners, 190 other lawyers and professional advisers, and 189 support staff, said its financial performance is the result of sustained investment in client services, including artificial intelligence and document automation products; growing international activity (the firm is currently advising clients in more than 100 jurisdictions); a record year for the firm’s London office; and strong demand across its sector and practice groups.

As a result of this record financial performance, all eligible colleagues will receive a 4 per cent firm-wide bonus. To mark the firm’s 250th anniversary, all colleagues will also receive an additional day’s holiday.

Stephen Gibb, chief executive of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “This has been a busy year for our lawyers and our clients, and we are pleased to report record income and profits.

“Despite uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit negotiations and global macroeconomic trends, our UK and overseas clients have continued to be active, particularly in sectors in which we have market-leading expertise such as clean energy, real estate, construction, food and drink, technology and regulation.

“The fall in the value of sterling following the Brexit vote, coupled with the fact that we have a highly-skilled and educated workforce, highly innovative businesses and world-leading centres of innovation, has meant that Scotland continues to be the second most attractive target for UK inward investment outside London and the south-east of England. As a result, we remain cautiously optimistic about the year ahead.”

This year the firm also celebrates the 250th anniversary of the founding, by David Stewart on 6 July 1768, of the legal practice that would ultimately become Shepherd and Wedderburn.

Commenting on the firm’s anniversary, Mr Gibb added: “As well as celebrating the many milestones we have achieved with our clients, we have our eyes set firmly on the future. We have commissioned The University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute to undertake a major research project to help Scottish businesses, organisations and entrepreneurs best position themselves for the years ahead. We will use fresh insights drawn from economic data and long-term global growth forecasts to inform a conversation with our clients and key industry contacts, which will help identify how they – and Scotland – can mitigate the challenges and seize the opportunities against the backdrop of a rapidly-evolving global economy.”

Highlights of the past year include:

  • advising long-standing client FanDuel on its proposed merger with Paddy Power Betfair;
  • continuing to advise on the world’s largest tidal array project in the Pentland Firth and on what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the Yorkshire coast;
  • becoming the first top 100 UK law firm to offer funded litigation in partnership with litigation funder Burford Capital;
  • advising on a landmark Scottish Islamic financing deal on behalf of the owner of Bridge View and Consort House in Aberdeen;
  • being named Banking & Finance Team of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland;
  • the promotion to partner of five colleagues (property and infrastructure; corporate; rural property and business; and commercial disputes and regulation) and 11 solicitors to associate;
  • the recruitment of other senior lawyers, including Jacqueline Moore, Head of Immigration; Philip Sewell, partner, commercial litigation, London; and Louise Ball, senior associate, banking and finance;
  • achieving gold accreditation as an Investor in People and Investor in Young People;
  • securing internationally-recognised ISO 9001 accreditation for quality management – having proven our ability to consistently provide products and services that meet client and regulatory requirements;
    • extending our PRIME programme, which encourages greater diversity in the legal profession, to all our offices, and working with the Prince’s Trust to host our first World of Work day for state school pupils from a variety of backgrounds; and
    • continuing to make a positive difference to the communities in which we live and work through our extensive charitable and pro bono projects.
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