Scottish law firm Thorntons has announced Paul Adams and John Smart as partners for its first office in Inverness alongside a further eight appointments from rival firm Wright, Johnston and Mackenzie (WJM).

The move by Thorntons, which already acts for clients in the north such as the University of Highlands and Islands and Cabot Highlands, is part of a continuing reshuffle in the city's legal community. 

WJM announced in October that it was boosting its presence in the north with the acquisition of Macandrew & Jenkins, a long-established player in Inverness. This followed two other WJM acquisitions in Inverness: MacArthur & Co in 2016, and Calum I Duncan Corporate Lawyers in 2019.

READ MORE: Scotland law: Glasgow firm boosts presence in Highlands

Headed up by Mr Adams as lead partner, Thornton's new 10-strong team in Inverness expects to announce further appointments in the coming weeks and months. The firm will initially operate out of serviced offices as work is done to fit out new premises within Beechwood Business Park, which is expected to be ready in the spring.

The practice will provide private client services such as trusts and tax planning through to specialist commercial advice to sectors such as commercial real estate, agriculture, life sciences, energy, renewables, and hospitality. 

Mr Adams and Mr Smart are both commercial property partners. They will be joined by legal directors Yasmin Myles and Elisa Miller, paralegal Jennifer Callaghan and legal administrator Lucy Bird, all specialising in commercial real estate.

Residential property associate Jenna Gallacher and residential conveyancing senior paralegal Hazel McGillivray also join Thorntons in Inverness alongside private client executry manager Anna MacLeod-Adams and trainee executry manager Krysty Steele.

“It is a refreshing new chapter to be part of the launch team that builds Thorntons’ first official location in the Highlands," Mr Adams said.

“From early conversations I was really impressed by Thorntons and value the knowledgeable yet human dynamic of the senior team. Their open and supportive culture and values run throughout the whole business and that has been evident right from the beginning of this planned move."

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He added: "As an independent Scottish law firm which is ambitious to grow, I’m excited for what the future holds.” 

Thorntons managing partner Lesley Larg said it was "tremendous" to welcome such senior legal figures who are well-established in the local marketplace.

“We’ve long contributed to the communities in which we operate and we look forward to engaging with local groups in Inverness to make a positive difference,” she added.

Inverness is Thorntons’ second new office of the year after opening the doors to a new permanent location in Glasgow. The firm has 72 partners and employs more than 550 people across 14 Scottish offices including its Glasgow and Edinburgh locations. 

In September of this year WJM, whose roots date back more than 150 years in Glasgow, announced that it is set to join forces with larger English counterpart Irwin Mitchell in what was described as a "strategic investment".