THE incoming chairman of Anderson Strathern has declared it has “absolutely no desire to join up with any UK or international practices and will remain a fully independent Scottish law firm”.

Fraser Geddes, who has relinquished his position as head of the firm’s dispute resolution operation to become full-time chairman from the start of April, said the firm is “perfectly positioned” to continue its trajectory of strong revenue and profit growth even in what he considers a “challenging time” for the profession and the economy.

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Mr Geddes said he will, as full-time chairman, become the “external face of the firm, drive and lead its strategic aims and ensure the firm is operating properly and efficiently”.

He added that he wants Anderson Strathern, which can trace its roots back to the 1600s, to be “the biggest and best version of itself” under his stewardship.

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Mr Geddes, who has been with the firm for more than 12 years and succeeds Bruce Farquhar as chairman, said the legal profession has changed dramatically from earlier in his career.

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He added: “It’s modernising, engaging with the very latest technology to better serve clients. We have moved from being consulted only when something needs verified or a statutory process completed, or when a client is in trouble, to a place where a lawyer must be infinitely more proactive in leading honest conversations about how best they can meet and hopefully exceed client expectations, on all fronts.

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“Today, legal expertise is a given – the letter of the law will be taken care of. The difference between good and great lawyers is being able to develop and nurture relationships.”

Anderson Strathern noted it had already “shifted strongly towards a remote-working culture, even before Covid forced the move on many in the Scottish workforce”.

Mr Geddes emphasised that he sees no reason for a U-turn on that.

He said: “We were among the first law firms to completely embrace remote/agile working, which meant when the pandemic hit, we were able to cope with the strains which proved so hard for other firms and companies. Taking two floors in Capital Square in the heart of Edinburgh is a visible statement of our commitment in that regard. There is space for around 75% of our staff at any one time – so there will be no three-line whip in terms of staff returning to the workplace full-time.”