Burness Paull lifts bonuses as turnover tops £78m

Burness Paul chair Peter Lawson

Scottish law firm Burness Paull said it reported “strong” results for the year ended July 31, 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 9% to £78.6 million and profit increased 7% 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 5% of their annual salary or £2,500.

Burness Paull now employs 600 people, including 86 partners, across its offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

“The biggest contributors to revenue were the firm’s long-standing strengths in corporate finance, real estate, banking, funds, dispute resolution and employment,” said Burness Paull.

“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 in the divestment of its external lottery management business, advising Scandinavian residential real estate company Heimstaden Bostad on its entry to the Scottish market, supporting client engagement with ScotWind, and repeat instructions from technology clients such as Amazon Web Services, Comcast, ITN, Sky, Bolt and Cazoo.

The firm also made five new partner promotions in 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 were among 58 promotions – including six directors, 11 senior associates, 17 associates, and 19 senior solicitors.

The firm’s partner ranks were also bolstered by the addition of eight lateral hires, including two of Scotland’s leading practitioners as part of a strategic move into family law.

Burness Paull chair Peter Lawson said: “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.”