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Law firm HBJ Gateley raises operating profit 14%

LAW firm HBJ Gateley has booked a 14% rise in operating profit from £6.3 million to more than £7m after growing its fee income.

Turnover was up by 16% in the 12 months to April 30, 2012, after levels of business increased across a number of areas.

The firm's energy law department, which includes its international shipping law arm headed by Ed Watt, came in with a 140% rise as it continues to advise a number of oil industry and renewable energy firms in Scotland and abroad.

The corporate recovery arm secured a 28% increase with employment 14% up and real estate running 13% ahead.

The like-for-like figures do not include results from HBJ Claim Solutions which was separated from the rest of the business in May 2011.

Malcolm McPherson, senior partner at HBJ Gateley, said the firm had performed well in difficult trading conditions.

He said: "The legal market continues to be challenged by a number of market pressures –reduced economic activity has led to lower transaction volumes, deals are taking longer to complete, and competition in the market is intense.

"Against that backdrop we're pleased to have helped clients achieve their own business objectives through commercially-focused legal advice. We continue to enjoy the loyalty of long-standing clients, and have built strong new relationships, all of which has been instrumental in delivering growth in a challenging market."

In July last year, HBJ Gateley's Glasgow office head Alison Newton said it had secured a number of client wins including Terrace Hill and Grainger.

Ms Newton joined the firm in October 2011, following 17 years as a partner at McGrigors.

In January 2012, it was revealed six Scottish based partners had decided to leave the firm.

It has since added a number of partners across both offices in Scotland as well as promoting some senior associates to partner level.

Among those joining the firm are Craig Darling in corporate recovery, Tim Cooper in insolvency, corporate lawyer Murray Jack and real estate specialist Caroline James. Currently it has 39 partners, 84 legal staff and 56 support staff.

HBJ Gateley can trace its roots to a maritime law legal practice started in Edinburgh during 1808. The modern-day firm came about when Henderson Boyd Jackson and Gateley Wareing merged in 2006.

HBJ Gateley remains the brand in Scotland with offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow

It files separate accounts from its English counterpart Gateley which has operations in cities including Manchester, London, Leeds and Birmingham.

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