Irwin Mitchell has strengthened its position north of the Border with a "strategic investment" in independent Scottish legal firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie (WJM).

The deal is effectively an acquisition and comes just two days after two of Scotland's oldest law firms, Morton Fraser and MacRoberts, announced merger intentions to create a new independent “top tier” player.

The move will expand Irwin Mitchell’s presence in Scotland beyond its office in Glasgow, which mainly performs banking, finance and personal injury work. WJM has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Dunfermline and Dunblane.

The Herald: Craig Marshall (left), chief operating officer at Irwin Mitchell, and Fraser Gillies, managing partner of Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie.Craig Marshall (left), chief operating officer at Irwin Mitchell, and Fraser Gillies, managing partner of Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie. (Image: Irwin Mitchell/WJM)

In return, Irwin Mitchell will open its legal and financial services to WJM’s clients. Upon completion of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, Irwin Mitchell partners Bruce Macmillan, Craig Marshall and Mark Higgins will join WJM’s newly-constructed management board.

Craig Marshall, chief operating officer at Irwin Mitchell, said the two firms are a "great cultural fit".

"We have ambitious plans for growth, and we are both focused on building on our client-centric approach, an excellent colleague experience and an ambition to become leading responsible businesses," he added.

“This strategic investment significantly expands our access to Scotland and Irwin Mitchell and Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie believe it will fundamentally enhance the service for current and future clients across the whole of the UK and internationally.”

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Fraser Gillies, managing partner at WJM, will continue to head up operations in Scotland.

He said: “This is a landmark moment for our firm. We have expanded considerably over the past decade and this investment will supercharge our growth efforts and provide a clear route into England and Wales, while broadening the services we can offer our clients.

“We share a similar approach, putting our clients and people at the heart of everything we do.  We also share similar ambitions for the future, so we are proud to make history together and begin this exciting new chapter.”