THE LONGSTANDING managing partner of Scotland’s largest independent law firm is preparing to stand down at the end of April, bringing a close to a 20-year stint in the position.

Bill Drummond, who has led the firm since 1997, will hand over the reins to real estate head Nick Scott at the beginning of the firm’s new financial year.

Mr Drummond said that while he expects to stay at the firm in some capacity because “the guys here seem keen to keep me involved”, he added that he would be taking some time off over the summer.

“I’m taking some time off to think about what I’m going to do going forward. No hasty decisions will be made,” he said.

Mr Drummond is stepping down a year before the end of his seventh three-year term to allow Mr Scott, who was handed the job after an uncontested election, to lead the firm for the duration of its 2018-21 strategic plan.

Mr Scott said the firm’s partners agreed the three-year strategy as part of a review process that concluded in November, adding that he would be working alongside Mr Drummond to set it in motion over the coming months.

“We won’t wait until May to start doing it, we have it in place now,” he said.

Mr Scott, who has served on Brodies’ operational and strategic boards, will work alongside Brodies chairman Christine O’Neill in running the firm.

Ms O’Neill, who has been in her position since succeeding Joyce Cullen in 2013, said that Mr Scott’s “track record of success for clients and development of partners and staff” made him the “ideal candidate” to replace Mr Drummond.

Like Mr Drummond, Mr Scott will be managing the firm on a full-time basis so will not be advising clients on real estate matters during his term.

Responsibility for running the real estate practice will pass to Johane Murray, who joined Brodies from what was Biggart Baillie (now DWF) in 2004.

Mr Scott said that Ms Murray, who is based in the firm’s Glasgow office, has “a very strong reputation in the London market as well as in Scotland”.

He added that the experience he has gained leading the real estate practice would be of benefit to him in the firmwide management position.

“We’re concerned with what the clients are doing and working out how to have the right services to support that,” he said.

“We go after the very best mandates and clients so I’ll take those lessons and apply them across the firm.”

Looking back over 20 years that have seen Brodies grow from a single-site firm into a four-office business with turnover of £66 million, Mr Drummond said the biggest change he has witnessed has been in the speed at which business is done.

While the work Brodies does has become more international over the past two decades, Mr Drummond said the firm’s “core values” have not changed since he joined as a trainee in 1980.

“What it is that clients are looking for from their lawyers and the attributes that law firms want from clients have been consistent over the 40 years I’ve been in the law,” he said.

“Our core values have been sustained pretty well on the whole and I hope that doesn’t change.”

Mr Drummond is not the only law firm leader preparing to step down, with Burness Paull chairman Philip Rodney understood to be retiring in the summer.

It is expected that Mr Rodney, who has also led his firm for two decades, will be replaced by Burness Paull corporate head Peter Lawson.

Like Mr Scott, who trained with Clifford Chance in London, Mr Lawson has experience of working in a so-called magic circle law firm, having spent time in the corporate department of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer after training at Burness Paull legacy firm Burness.

Mr Rodney’s current three-year term comes to an end in July.