McGrigors LLP

THE SCOOP

Widely acknowledged as one of the premier Scottish law firms, McGrigors has a nationwide practiceâ€"in fact, it is the only firm that practises in all three UK jurisdictions (England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).  Having successfully broken into the London market by opening an office there in 1988 and then building up its presence through a merger with KLegal in 2002, McGrigors now has its largest office in the City; the firm has set ambitious plans to double the office’s size within the next three years.  McGrigors’ client list includes more than one-third of the FTSE 100 and 40 AIM-listed companies, though the firm works with everyone from multinationals to government and local authorities, as well as small and medium-sized businesses in the public and private sectors.

Minty merger pays off

Ranked 44th by revenue in Legal Week’s Top 50, McGrigors took in turnover of £64.5 million in 2007-2008, a respectable increase of 7.5 per cent over the previous year.  The rise in disputes brought about by the credit crunch saw healthy litigation activity, and McGrigors cited particularly strong performances from its tax disputes and employment teams.  Meanwhile, the firm’s real estate and corporate teams, thanks to the decline in business activity and the collapse of the real estate sector, were among the primary underperformers.

The strong performance of McGrigors’ litigation team was thanks in no small part to the firm’s merger with Reid Minty, a London litigation boutique, which took place in August 2008.  For McGrigors, ever looking to cement its presence in London, the merger was a real boon.  A total of 18 people joined McGrigors, including four partners and two directors, together with the entirety of Reid Minty’s commercial litigation and real estate business.  The firm’s senior partner, Andrew Reid, joined McGrigors as a consultant.

Recruiting and restructuring

Prior to its end of year results, McGrigors underwent a leadership overhaul.  In response to the economic crisis, the firm made moves to reinforce strength in its restructuring department, hiring Mark Parkhouse, the head of Reed Smith’s corporate restructuring and bankruptcy department, to join its own corporate team.  The firm bolstered its corporate recovery group in Scotland, with a new director from HBJ Gateley Wareing joining the Glasgow office, while DLA Piper’s UK real estate finance head joined the Edinburgh office.  The firm also recruited a new chief operating officer, Tim Salmon, from Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

In addition to recruiting new staff, McGrigors overhauled its partnership and remuneration structure over the six months leading up to November 2008, with a renewed emphasis on performance.  The move saw 10 partners removed from the equity rolls to be placed on fixed-share status, while a number of high-performing salaried partners were promoted to equity status. McGrigors also promoted three associates to partner in 2008, putting two new partners in the corporate practice, and the third into the firm’s tax litigation practice.

Unfortunately, the firm also suffered a few high-profile departures that year.  Former Managing Partner Colin Gray and banking partner Colin McKay both left for Eversheds, while Martin Finnegan, McGrigors’ head of capital markets, joined Nabarro in July 2008.  But since the start of the new year in 2009, the firm has brought in some new talent.  Senior solicitor Willie Park joined the firm’s health, safety and environmental litigation team in Aberdeen in April, as McGrigors anticipates an increase in HSE and regulatory work, especially in the energy sector, areas in which the firm already boasts strength.TRAINEES TALK

Ready for the real world

Trainees fairly gush over their experience at McGrigors.  “Fantastic so farâ€, exclaims a first-year.  A more restrained second-year reports, “I have thoroughly enjoyed training with this firm.† Trainees are exposed to a “good level of interesting work†and find “all colleagues very approachableâ€.  “The work is varied and exciting, and the clients are some of the best you could hope to attract,†says a second-year.  “The firm has fairly intense in-house training programmes which are very helpful,†trainees agree.  “As you progress through your traineeship you are given increased levels of responsibility, so that by the end of it you feel ready to work independently and autonomously,†says a second-year in Glasgow.  What doesn’t vary, however, is the support from partners and senior associates who are always ready to offer useful feedback.  “It has been refreshing to note that partners and other senior solicitors actively care about the quality of the training we receive,†says a trainee in the Edinburgh office.

Trainees firmwide seem to lead a very active social life, though a few sources contend that the “Edinburgh office is the most sociable through provision of a cafe area and a monthly drinks evening.† During the workday, “everyone is very friendly and approachable,†while “after hoursâ€, McGrigors is a “very sociable firm.  Drinks are often arranged and [there are] lots of social events and sports teams you can join.â€
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McGrigors LLP


Princes Exchange
1 Earl Grey Street
Edinburgh EH3 9AQ
Phone: +44 (0)131 777 7000
www.mcgrigors.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing partner: Richard Masters
  • Total No. Attorneys 2009: 400

Major Office Locations

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Stanley, Falkland Islands
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