SCOTLAND’S top 15 commercial law firms by turnover made a combined profit of £165.8 million in the last financial year on the back of total turnover of £451.4m.

Over half the total revenue figure was generated by the five largest firms – Brodies, Burness Paull, Shepherd and Wedderburn, Maclay Murray & Spens and Dickson Minto – which collectively turned over £259m.

Of that group private equity specialist Dickson Minto, which operates in Edinburgh as well as the lucrative London market, was the most profitable, with trade magazine The Lawyer estimating that it generated £21.6m of profit on turnover of £43m to give a profit margin of 50 per cent.

Brodies, Burness Paull and Shepherd and Wedderburn were the only other firms to achieve margins of 40 per cent or above, with their respective figures sitting at 47.5 per cent, 42 per cent and 41 per cent.

As law firms are structured as partnerships, all their profits are paid out to partners each year. Each firm has a different approach to how they award profit shares, but in general they have a group of partners that receive a fixed share that is akin to a salary as well as a group whose share will vary from year to year depending on overall profits.

At six of the firms - Dickson Minto, Digby Brown, Brodies, MacRoberts, Shepherd and Wedderburn and Burness Paull – the highest earner received a profit share in excess of half a million pounds for 2015/16.

At Dickson Minto the highest earner took home £1.6m while at Digby Brown, which specialises in personal injury work, the highest earner received a profit share for the year of £1.1m.