BRISTOL law firm Burges Salmon has hired a partner each from leading firms Brodies, Burness Paull and Shepherd & Wedderburn as it gears up to launch an on-the-ground offering in Scotland.

The firm, which also has a presence in London, has set up a base in Edinburgh to serve clients including Royal Bank of Scotland, EDF Renewables and FirstGroup.

Shepherd & Wedderburn corporate partner Danny Lee, Brodies real estate partner Robert Forman and Burness Paull planning partner Craig Whelton have been hired as the firm’s launch team along with Shepherd & Wedderburn lawyer Joanna Monaghan and Burness Paull lawyers Claire MacLean and Lynsery Reid.

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Burges Salmon senior associate Lynette Purves, who is currently on secondment in the Edinburgh office of Italian wind-power operator ERG, and associate Emma Shearer, who is relocating from Bristol, complete the team.

Unlike many of the English firms that have launched in Scotland in recent years, Burges Salmon will not be focusing on insurance-related work north of the Border, with the new recruits fitting in with the firm’s overall sector-led approach.

Managing partner Roger Bull said that while the firm has a well-established Scottish practice led by Bristol-based Euan Bremner – an Aberdeen University graduate who trained at local firm Ledingham Chalmers - “having Edinburgh as a permanently staffed office is a new evolution to our model”.

“This is very much client driven as well as aligning with our strategy,” he said. “We’ve had a Scottish practice for a number of years operating from Bristol and that Scottish practice has built up a good client base.

“We’ve also seen a number of UK-wide national and international clients opening in Edinburgh and Scotland more widely.”

The main areas of focus for the firm initially will be real estate, energy and projects, financial services, infrastructure and food and drink, with Burges Salmon already acting for clients such as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, HSBC, ENGIE and Octopus Investments on Scottish matters.

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Recent deals the firm has worked on with a Scottish element include advising developer Estover Energy and project vehicle Speyside Renewable Energy Partnership on the development and financing of a £74 million Combined Heat and Power biomass plant in Speyside and acting for L1 Renewables on the £12m refinancing of a facility granted to the owners of the 12-turbine Allt Dearg wind farm near Lochgilphead.

Mr Bull said that while the firm has brought on three Scottish partners initially, the intention is to build that out on a demand-led basis.

“We will be talking to clients in more detail to analyse their requirements,” he said. “This first wave [of hires] is coming off what we view to be the most important areas with synergies with the work we’ve been doing.

“There’s plenty of opportunity to grow the office here and we’ll be looking to continue to recruit to cover a broader focus.

“We will offer a wider service, but in terms of full service, even if you’re looking at Bristol I’m not sure I’d necessarily describe us as full service – we have sectors and specialisms.”

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Transport, private wealth and the public sector are the main areas the firm specialises in that its Edinburgh office will not offer straight away.

While numerous Scottish firms such as Dundas & Wilson, McGrigors, Simpson Marwick and HBJ Gateley have been taken over by larger English players in recent years – CMS, Pinsent Masons, Clyde & Co and Addleshaw Goddard respectively - the three new recruits come from the largest remaining Scottish independents.

Mr Bull said they had been attracted across in part by Burges Salmon’s all-equity partnership model.