By Ian McConnell

SCOTTISH law firm Burness Paull has posted a 39 per cent jump in profit before partner distributions to £33.3 million for the year to July 31, on the back of a 19% rise in income to £72m.

Burness Paull attributed its “growth in key sectors such as technology, health, renewables and energy transition to escalating the importance of client engagement”.

The firm had posted income of £60.5m and profit of £25m for the financial year ending July 31 last year. In the prior 12 months to July 31, 2019, its revenue was £58.5m and profit was £22m. Burness Paull's headcount was 551 at July 31, 2021, having risen by about a dozen over the financial year.

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Chairman Peter Lawson paid tribute to the work of his colleagues, and flagged an "increased bonus structure" to reward their efforts.

He said: "The last year has been extremely challenging for all of our people. The lengths everyone has gone to in order to deliver first-class support to clients while continuing to work remotely has been an outstanding tribute to the high-performing culture we have within the firm.

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“That’s why it was important that those efforts were rewarded by an increased bonus structure that is appropriate for such exceptional commitment to serving the best interests of our clients."

He cited Burness Paull's "strength in corporate finance" and "international reach" as advantages when economic activity rebounded post-lockdown.

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Burness Paull noted it had advised Edinburgh-based financial services group abrdn on its acquisition of artificial intelligence platform Exo.

It also flagged its work on Scottish technology company Calnex Solutions’ flotation, and noted it had advised private equity groups TDR and I Squared Capital on the "Scots law aspects" of their £2.3 billion acquisition of Glasgow-based temporary power group Aggreko.

Commenting on the overall results, Mr Lawson said: "Our commitment to building deeper client relationships was under way prior to the pandemic and we took the decision at the outset of lockdown to accelerate that support. Our employment team in particular were trailblazers in offering early-stage guidance and direction for what was an incredibly troubling set of circumstances for the client community. The positive feedback from this early action was influential in encouraging a wider programme of outreach."

He added: "Our results have no doubt benefited from the timing of our financial year, as we’ve seen a few more months of the upturn than some other firms. However, our performance has been significantly boosted from the prior year by investments in recruitment and people development, innovation and, most importantly, an unwavering commitment to the needs of our clients and their response to shifts in the markets they operate in.

“Our development of sector teams, best-in-class lateral hires and new practice areas have only been possible with that client-based insight.”