Administrators have been appointed to Glasgow and Edinburgh legal firm Morisons LLP.

A statement on the firm's website reveals that T C MacLennan of FRP Advisory, 95 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh and A I Fraser of FRP Advisory, 52-54 Rose Street, Aberdeen were appointed yesterday (29 March 2019) as joint administrators.

It is also disclosed that the firm's Glasgow business has been acquired by Blackadders LLP, and the Edinburgh business by Thorntons Law LLP. Both acquiring firms have their headquarters in Dundee but have expanded into other parts of Scotland in recent years.

Glasgow partners Peter Duff, Gillian Brown and Lucy Gannon, together with 30 staff, are transferring to Blackadders, along with all files and documents.

Eight other partners and 41 staff are transferring to Thorntons. There are no immediate redundancies; however the Morisons office in Edinburgh (Exchange Place) will close within two months. Some insolvency, asset recovery and litigation matters handled by Morisons in Glasgow will now be handled by Thorntons' Edinburgh office, and arrangements are being made for all documents to be delivered to Thorntons. 

Three individual partners are moving to Gilson Gray in Edinburgh, Weightmans in Glasgow and one undisclosed firm where negotiations are ongoing. There are no immediate redundancies.

Morisons was founded in the 1860s and expanded in recent years to acquire other practices including Maxwell McLaurin, Macrae Flett & Rennie, and Bonar Mackenzie.

Johnston Clark, managing partner of Blackadders, commented: “This acquisition underpins Blackadders’ investment in our people and our business and will position us for continued, strategic growth. Blackadders has a clear commitment to client service and an established plan for further growth across the firm. This includes a track record for successfully integrating other firms with our business. We will now have a stronger presence in the Central Belt which will enhance the strength and depth of resource available to all of our clients. Our focus will now be on providing continuity of service to clients as we welcome them to Blackadders.”

Craig Nicol, managing partner of Thorntons said: “Thorntons has made a number of recent investments in our Edinburgh team and client offering, including a move to new, larger offices at Citypoint.

“Morisons was a longstanding, highly respected firm with a high profile in the Central Belt, and this acquisition will further strengthen our position in the Edinburgh market.

“Our priority will be to provide a seamless transition for clients to ensure they continue to receive an excellent service, and to integrate those partners and employees moving across into our Edinburgh team.”

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said the Society was "very sad" to hear the news. "It represents the loss of a highly regarded Scottish law firm operating in Glasgow and Edinburgh."

She added: "We are confident that arrangements are being put in place to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible for the firm’s clients.

"There has been ongoing, significant change within the legal services sector which, combined with a challenging economic environment, continues to have an impact on law firms.

"We understand that 71 members of staff, including all trainee solicitors, will be transferred. We will work with the firms to help ensure a smooth transfer and provide advice and support for our members. Morisons’ clients should continue to contact their solicitor about any ongoing business or transactions."