By Scott Wright

THORNTONS, the Dundee-based law firm, has established its first permanent home in Glasgow as it targets continuing growth in the west of Scotland.

The historic firm is set to take up full-time residence at Lomond House in George Square, in an office big enough to double its current headcount in the city. It will be the first permanent berth for Thorntons in Glasgow, with the firm having operated from serviced offices in the city since 2019.

Thorntons, which is more than 150 years old, initially began operating in Glasgow as it followed the activities of its long-standing clients, including commercial organisations and institutions in the higher education sector. Now the firm says it is looking to embed itself into the fabric of the city’s business community.

Managing partner Lesley Larg told The Herald that the opening of the new office was a “real turning point” for Thorntons as it strives to lay down roots in the city, declaring that the move to Lomond House was the “right time and the right fit” for the firm.

Reflecting on the decision to invest in a permanent home in the city, Ms Larg said she had expressed to the board two years ago that she felt the firm could “achieve even more in Glasgow”. She said: “It’s a really welcoming place to do business. We had done really well there without having any roots.

“It really feels like the time to put permanent roots down in Glasgow and to have a permanent home.”

Ms Larg added: “The way I look at it is clients have brought us to Glasgow, and now clients are allowing us to flourish in Glasgow. It is a really exciting next chapter.”

Thorntons said the Glasgow practice will focus on clients operating in the city’s most prominent sectors, including commercial real estate, technology, higher education and social housing, though Ms Larg said the firm is looking to build connections in the wider business community throughout the west of Scotland.

The firm noted that it was recently appointed to expand its work within Wheatley Group’s legal services framework, and continues to advise the chef and restaurateur Dean Banks, who is poised to open his first venture in Glasgow with the support of the firm’s commercial real estate lawyers. Other clients in the city include tech company ThinkAnalytics, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow Caledonian University, and City of Glasgow College.

Ms Larg said: “One of our values is community. It is in our mission statement as well, which is to help our clients, colleagues and communities to succeed, and it felt like if we were going to be putting down permanent roots in Glasgow for the long term it had to be at the heart of the community.

“Although our focus initially is on commercial work, because that is what we have a history and track record of in the city, ultimately the plan would be to replicate for example what we have done in Haymarket in Edinburgh, where we now have 100 people. We started with three… and we offer our full range of services there.”

She added: “The focus now is very much on the commercial stuff in Glasgow, with a view to replicating that full-service element of what we do in due course. And I think to do that and do it well you have got to be in a location that you feel you can serve your community from.”

Thorntons, which employs more than 500 people across its 13 Scottish offices, has invested £400,000 to fit out the new base. The 7,200 square foot office, which is due to be ready in March, will accommodate more than 60 desks, allowing it to double its current headcount of 30, with the open-plan layout incorporating client meeting areas and flexible spaces to support collaborative working and social events. The firm said the sustainable design of the office maximises natural light and reduces energy consumption.

Thorntons’ team in Glasgow includes partners Pamela Muir – who leads on insolvency – intellectual property, media and technology specialist Liam McMonagle, and Hugo Allan and Aimee Gibbons, who specialise in commercial property and construction.

Th firm said it is targeting lateral hires and mergers and acquisitions as part of its growth strategy. It recently added to its real estate team with the appointment of a new senior solicitor and legal director, and said it will be announcing the hire of senior, well-established Glasgow legal figures in the coming weeks.