THORNTONS, the long-established Dundee law firm, has reported a fall in profits and rise in turnover amid challenging trading conditions and major expansion in its last financial year.

New accounts show profit before members’ remuneration and profit shares at Thorntons dipped to £9.18 million for the year to May 31, 2023 from £10.1m the previous time.

Despite a backdrop of "unsettled" political leadership at UK and Scottish government level, a "sluggish economy, higher inflation and rising interest rates", the firm reported that it had hiked gross income by 8.2% to £37.8m, as trading across most business areas "remained strong".

Further growth is expected in the current year, with the firm on track to turn over £40m this time.

The period covered by the accounts saw Thorntons open its first permanent office in Glasgow, where it made three lateral hires at partner level in commercial real estate and commercial litigation.

Thorntons said the new office in Glasgow, which overlooks George Square, followed the success of a new base in Edinburgh. The firm now has 14 offices across Scotland, employing more than 500 people, following the recent opening of a base in Inverness in November.

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Thorntons, which was established more than 150 years ago, said today that it had secured significant new clients in emerging sectors such as agri-tech, carbon capture and green tourism, in its last financial year, during which it also worked a number of key deals. These included advising vertical farming business Intelligent Growth Solutions which recently concluded a £22.5m funding deal to support global expansion.

Managing partner Lesley Larg said: “It’s been an incredibly busy year for the firm with some major new initiatives including our first permanent Glasgow office overlooking the city’s iconic George Square. In time we hope to double our headcount in Glasgow and build on our existing, strong client base.

“We have also invested substantially in our people, ensuring we offer high quality learning and development opportunities and competitive salaries.

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“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved across the business during an uncertain economic period, and we continue to have ambitious plans for the future, including making a positive contribution to the communities where we are based.”

Thorntons said it appointed 13 trainee solicitors last year, its largest intake to date, and brought nine interns on board to support its talent pipeline. There are 73 partners in the firm.

Outlining the firm’s hopes for the current year, Ms Larg said: “We are experiencing continued strong growth this financial year and are predicting a £40m-plus turnover.

“The current year will also see more new colleagues join us in locations including Dundee and Edinburgh in a range of legal and business support roles. We also have plans to recruit in Glasgow. We want to build on our strong corporate and commercial offering in the West and to further expand our services for individuals and families.

“This year will also herald the opening of our newest permanent office location in Inverness, where our team will move from their current serviced accommodation into a bespoke, refitted office space in spring.

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“We will also continue to invest in developing our people and to further enhance our ways of working using emerging technologies. We have recently secured an external innovation award, which will enable us to upskill our colleagues and explore how Generative AI can contribute to client service, speed of delivery and innovation.

“Our commitment is to remain a full service, independently owned Scottish firm balancing our personal and business legal services equally across the firm. As well as our plans for organic growth, merger and acquisition opportunities continue to present themselves and we will consider progressing some of those which present a strong cultural and client focused fit.”