Thorntons, the Dundee-headquartered legal firm with branches across east and central Scotland, and Edinburgh-based Stuart & Stuart WS, have announced their merger from 1 April 2022.
Both firms have a long history: Stuart & Stuart traces its origins back to 1804, while Thorntons' roots date from 1857.
The merger will create a business totalling 564 people, of which 71 are partners. Thorntons was already the fourth largest independent legal practice in Scotland, and recently posted record annual turnover of £31.2m.
Stuart & Stuart’s entire team of 31 will transfer to Thorntons. Chris Anderson will transfer as a consultant to the merged firm of Thorntons, and John MacKenzie, Fergus Macmillan, Andrew Bertram and Emma Horne will be appointed partners, with Ken Lauder appointed a legal director.
Stuart & Stuart senior partner Chris Anderson described the merger as “a fantastic move for two firms which share a remarkably similar outlook”.
He commented: "In a career which has seen its fair share of deals, this was one of the simplest and most positive transactions. Both firms have a long and proud pedigree of client service and I have no doubt the newly enlarged firm will continue to forge ahead."
Thorntons managing partner Lesley Larg said: "It is incredibly encouraging, having received many, many approaches over the years, that Stuart & Stuart have chosen Thorntons as a trusted home for their clients and their people. I’m looking forward to welcoming Stuart & Stuart’s people to Thorntons and am excited about the significant benefits arising from this deal. There are many similarities in terms of the services the firms provide, our shared values which drive how we operate for our people and our communities, and our mutual focus on excellent client care.
"Stuart & Stuart is a venerable private client firm in the broadest sense, offering residential conveyancing, estate agency, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, executries and family law. It is central to our strategic plan that we remain a full service law firm and accelerate our growth in the Central Belt, and therefore Stuart & Stuart is a superb, complementary fit, given its culture, history and commitment to outstanding client service."