Shepherd and Wedderburn reported 4.1% turnover growth to £59.3 million in the year to 30 April 2021, with profits before partner distributions rising 13% to £25.3 million.

In recognition of the exemplary resilience, adaptability and commitment shown by colleagues to clients during this most challenging of years, colleagues received an exceptional bonus of 5% of annual salary in addition to bonuses payable under the firm’s performance-related bonus scheme.

Highlights during the past year include:

  • the acquisition of a 20-strong Scottish private client team from Dentons, creating one of Scotland’s largest private wealth and tax practices;
  • promoting four lawyers to Partner and two to Legal Director, three of whom began their legal careers as trainees of the firm;
  • promoting 12 lawyers to Senior Associate and five to Associate;
  • appointing 14 newly qualified lawyers;
  • securing three lateral Partner and two Director hires;
  • being awarded the highest attainable accreditations as an Investor in People (Platinum) and Investor in Young People (Gold);
  • being ranked a Top 75 employer in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020 by the Social Mobility Foundation, demonstrating the firm’s ongoing commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace;
  • being named Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year in the Legal Business Awards in recognition of effective leadership, impressive financial performance and increased market share;
  • committing to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and signing the Edinburgh Climate Compact; and
  • continuing the firm’s investment in and growth of its award-winning Smarter Working unit, which supports clients by applying legal technology solutions to streamline processes, improve efficiency and help manage the legal costs of large scale projects. Recent assignments for the unit include the implementation of a bespoke case management, automation and reporting platform for Virgin Money to manage the transfer of SME business lending as part of the RBS Incentivised Switching Scheme, and project work for a major energy sector client. 

The firm saw strong revenue growth across all divisions. Shepherd and Wedderburn’s corporate finance team advised on 75 corporate finance transactions with an aggregate value of £7.1 billion in the year to December 2020, an increase of 18% on its 2019 aggregate deal value. Client activity has been particularly strong in the clean energy and technology transactions, underscoring the firm’s reputation in these fast-growing and innovative sectors. Shepherd and Wedderburn’s banking team advised on 101 deals with a total value of £128.4 billion in the last financial year, an increase in value of 99% on the same period the previous year. 

Notable deals, matters and panel appointments over the past 12 months include:

  • being appointed as sole legal adviser, in respect of corporate legal services, to the Scottish National Investment Bank and being reappointed to the legal panels of Virgin Money and The University of Edinburgh; 
  • advising on a range of clean energy projects for clients including the Moray Offshore group (in relation to the proposed Moray West windfarm) and BayWa r.e. UK Limited (in the sale of the Inverclyde Windfarm);
  • in the technology sector:
    • acting for Epic Games, a leading video games and video games engine developer and publisher, in its acquisitions of Tonic Games, an award-winning games developer, SuperAwesome, a pioneer in the ‘kidtech’ market, and Cubic Motion, a provider of facial animation technology;
    • acting as sole adviser to AIM-listed Bigblu Broadband plc in the disposal of its European satellite broadband business to Euronext-listed Eutelsat S.A.;
    • acting for IndigoVision Group plc, the AIM-listed video security surveillance company, in its takeover by Motorola Solutions; 
  • acting for the Scottish Professional Football League in successfully defending the £10 million claim made by Heart of Midlothian FC following the decision to end the season early due to the pandemic; and
  • acting for Baillie Gifford in agreeing a 20-year pre-let of 280,000 square feet at the £350 million Haymarket Edinburgh development.

The firm has reviewed its strategy for the next three years and has embarked on an ambitious growth plan that seeks to build on Shepherd and Wedderburn’s reputation for quality and service by focusing on the firm’s core strengths and sectors with strong growth prospects.

Andrew Blain, Managing Partner of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “The past year, which has been unprecedented, has presented many challenges for both the firm and our clients, and it is heartening to see the firm perform strongly in such circumstances. I would like to thank all our clients for continuing to put their faith in us as their trusted legal adviser, and to express my appreciation to my colleagues for their adaptability, support and commitment. 

“Last year’s performance provides a strong base from which to deliver our growth strategy for the next three years, which will see us continue to invest in our people and in technology to ensure we continue to deliver high quality and innovative services to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients.

“Our depth of expertise and the quality of our lawyers position us well to support clients in seizing the opportunities that will present themselves as we emerge from the pandemic, in particular the positive changes needed to tackle climate change and deliver a green and sustainable recovery.”