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Investment in people key to strong performance at Burness Paull

Leading independent law firm Burness Paull has reported strong results for the year ended 31 July, the second of the firm’s three-year strategy that is focussed on attracting and developing exceptional legal talent to support clients across an evolving range of business and individual needs.

Annual turnover was up nine per cent to £78.6 million and profit increased seven per cent to £35.7 million, triggering an all-staff bonus that, in addition to performance-related bonuses, will see employees receive an additional payment worth the higher of five per cent of their annual salary or £2,500.

The biggest contributors to revenue were the firm’s long-standing strengths in corporate finance, real estate, banking, funds, dispute resolution and employment. This was supplemented by strong growth in areas such as technology, restructuring and insolvency, tax and public law.

Notable activity included advising Incremental Group on its acquisition by Telefónica Tech in a transaction worth up to £175 million; acting for STV during the divestment of its external lottery management business, which manages The Scottish Children’s Lottery; advising Scandinavian residential real estate company Heimstaden Bostad on its entry to the Scottish market through a £125 million forward funding deal for a 464-home build-to-rent project in Edinburgh; supporting client engagement with ScotWind and the wider energy transition; and repeat instructions from major technology clients such as Amazon Web Services, Comcast, ITN, Sky, Bolt and Cazoo. 

In line with its emphasis on people and talent development, the firm has also made five new partner promotions as it prepares for further growth and recognises individual performance and commitment to client service. These are Edward Hunter (corporate finance), Allana Sweeney (restructuring and insolvency), Sophia Harrison (dispute resolution), Andrew Little (construction and projects) and Kirsty Morley (English real estate).

The five new partners are among 58 promotions – including six directors, 11 senior associates, 17 associates, and 19 senior solicitors – across Burness Paull’s practice areas and offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

The firm’s partner ranks have also been bolstered by the addition of eight lateral hires, including two of Scotland’s leading practitioners as part of a strategic move into family law, during the last financial year. The number of partners at the firm now stands at 86.

Peter Lawson, Chair of Burness Paull, commented: “This is a strong set of results, particularly in the face of economic headwinds arising from global inflation and the conflict in Ukraine during the second half of our reporting period. 

“It’s a challenging environment for the entire business community and our investment in talent is all about our capacity to add value where it matters most. Technology, ESG, financial regulation, immigration and public law are all examples of where the regulatory and risk burden on our clients is increasing, and where we are providing increased levels of advice.

“Our performance is testament to the level of expertise and dedication right across the firm, and we have continued to strengthen the team with a number of well-deserved promotions and lateral hires in key practice areas where we see scope for further growth.

“Attracting, developing and retaining the right people is key to our ability to service clients. We want to make sure our people are well remunerated for the work they do, which is why the all-staff bonus is important. However, it’s also about building on our strong human and high-performing culture and ensuring that we are a diverse, purposeful organisation. It’s for that reason that we place so much value on our accreditation as a menopause-friendly employer, the ESG initiatives we have implemented this year, and the work we continue to do through the Burness Paull Foundation.

“Our strategy and the results of the last few years put the firm in a strong position, and we look forward with optimism and a readiness to support our clients to navigate the changing economic and business landscape.”

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