Burness Paull embraces AI as results boost bonuses

Burness Paul chair Peter Lawson

Scottish law firm Burness Paull said it has reported strong results for its financial year ended March 31, a shortened eight-month reporting period following the firm’s decision to change its year-end to align with market norms following HMRC’s basis period reforms.

Turnover for the eight months was £60.1 million and profit was £24.3 million.

These figures triggered an all-staff bonus that – in addition to individual performance-related bonuses – will see every employee receive an additional payment worth 7.5 per cent of their annual salary, pro-rated to account for the shortened financial year.

The benefits of new offices in Aberdeen and Glasgow were felt fully, and AI-powered solutions have been rolled out or are being beta-tested with a view to maximising the value the legal teams provide for clients.

The firm now employs more than 700 people, including 90 partners, across its offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Notable client mandates for the year included advising:

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment on its acquisition of iSize
  • The administrators of Stewart Milne Group
  • West Burton Energy on all aspects of the acquisition of the 2.9GWh Thorpe Marsh battery storage project, expected to be one of the largest battery storage projects globally
  • Royal London on the sale of its Police and Forces Mutual businesses to Bspoke Group and, separately, its acquisition of Responsible Life and Responsible Lending
  • AM Sci Tech Ltd, part of the Hurstwood Holdings Group, on the purchase of Aberdeen Energy and Innovation parks, two business parks in the Bridge of Don area extending to over 100 acres and let to more than 100 occupiers
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise on commercial litigation relating to the Cairngorm funicular railway
  • Serica Energy plc on its new $525 million six-year secured reserves-based lending facility.

Burness Paull chair Peter Lawson said: “We saw an uptick in activity during the second half of our 2022/23 financial year and we have carried that momentum into this shortened financial year, which has led to a very positive set of results.

“The fact that this is an eight-month reporting period rather than the usual 12 months means it is difficult to do acceptable year-on-year comparisons. However, our performance to date, combined with the pipeline of work and the timing of costs, give us confidence that both turnover and profit have grown strongly on last year.

“This reflects the hard work of our people and their dedication to our clients, and we are delighted to be able to reward their efforts with the all-employee bonus.

“While challenges remain, it’s a much more stable economic picture than it was 12 to 18 months ago. The greater certainty provided by falling inflation and interest rates being held has led to growing investor confidence and increased levels of transactional activity, which plays to the firm’s strengths in corporate finance, real estate, banking and funds, energy and technology in particular.

“We continue to invest in line with our long-term growth strategy, to ensure that we are able to attract and retain the right skills and specialist expertise to meet the evolving requirements of our clients and provide a truly holistic service.

“Cyber security is increasingly at the top of client risk registers and we have developed a market-leading cyber and data security team dedicated to dealing with the rising volume of cyber-related incidents which threaten every sector.

“We have also expanded our offering beyond companies to the individuals and families who own and lead them.

“Their personal affairs are often inextricably linked to their businesses and our enhanced ability to advise on tax and wealth planning, succession and family law makes for a more seamless client experience through an integrated commercial and private client and individuals offering.

“We remain cautiously optimistic about the short to medium-term and stand ready to support our clients as they navigate the changing economic and business landscape and explore the opportunities available to them.”