Taking a big step forward

Julie Lister, director of Green House Business Centre Inverness, with WJM’s Roddy Cormack, John Smart, Paul Adams and Angus MacLeod

Now in its 165th year in business, our firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP (WJM) has never been stronger.

A number of acquisitions from 2016 onwards kick-started a period of significant growth which has added strength and quality to our offering.

A merger with MacArthur & Co in Inverness, followed by a merger with BMK Wilson, based in Glasgow and Dunblane, boosted the firm’s footprint and client base considerably. This was further bolstered by the acquisition of the clients of Robertson & Co in Kingussie.

And, the last 12 months alone have been dominated by a string of exciting new hires, expansions and acquisitions.

Exactly one year ago WJM proudly announced its merger with CCW Business Lawyers, in a move that further strengthened its national footprint.

Four partners and eight employees from CCW’s Edinburgh and Dunfermline offices joined forces with the WJM team in a move which, in particular, has been crucial in further strengthening WJM’s commercial property and corporate offering. 

Another key area of focus for us has been Inverness, which has seen a period of significant growth in recent months.

We have taken on seven new recruits and – to accommodate these new hires and cater for a growing client base – we have expanded the office premises to almost 3,000sq ft.

Rod MacLean joined the private client division as a partner, bringing 25 years of private client practice experience. Meanwhile Roddy Cormack was appointed to head up the construction team as a legal director, bringing extensive experience in private and public sector – providing advice on procurement, contract negotiation, collateral warranties, CDM regulation, dispute advice and more.

The raft of appointments brings staff numbers to 25 in Inverness – a huge success story for an office which had just one person at the helm when it opened eight years ago.

According to Angus MacLeod, lead partner at our Inverness office, the combined skillsets of these new additions give WJM “one of the strongest private client teams in the Highlands”. He adds: “it has also enhanced the commercial property team, with the appointment of a construction law expert.”

THE GROWTH IN staff numbers was just the first in a number of good news stories for Inverness.

Associates Paul Adams and JP Campbell were both promoted to partner and the branch also announced the acquisition of the practice of Calum I Duncan Corporate Lawyers (as the respected Highland solicitor retired).

Meanwhile, the Glasgow office also benefited from a talent boost, with WJM strengthening its family law offering with the additions of Roger Mackenzie and Emma Letham. The family law specialists joined in August, bringing extensive experience to the table in fields such as divorce, adoption and prenuptial agreements. 

Also adding to the talent pool at WJM is specialist Ross Taylor who joined the construction team as partner at the beginning of October. Ross previously headed up Taylor Law, where he worked with a clients ranging from sole traders to national commercial developers. In his new role he will specialise in contentious construction disputes across Scotland.

As the latest Legal 500 and Chambers rankings illustrate, WJM has performed consistently well in a number of key areas, including energy, commercial property and planning, and we look forward to continued growth in these sectors as we head into 2020. 

We pride ourselves in the unrivalled service we offer to clients across our specialist areas and we have truly gone from strength to strength in recent years. The various acquisitions and mergers have given us a larger footprint and crucially have given us a presence in areas where we identified opportunities for growth.

INVERNESS IS THE perfect example of this and between promotions, expansion and appointments, we are in the best possible position to make a real impact in the Highlands.

Meanwhile, the CCW merger made perfect sense thanks to our shared substantial heritage and modern outlook on the delivery of legal services. As well as growing our footprint geographically it allowed us to provide additional services to CCW’s clients such as private client and litigation.

Above all though, WJM’s strength is its people. They allow us to offer expertise and passion which is truly second to none.

We pride ourselves in having a strong focus on our client relationships and client service and our many longstanding client relationships is testament to that.

Fraser Gillies, is Managing Partner at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP. WJM has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Dunblane and Dunfermline. For more information go to www.wjm.co.uk. 

This article was published and distributed in LegalScot, an independent publication from www.canongate.org, in The Times Scotland on 31/10/19.
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