20 August 2015
McClure Naismith has finally admitted that it is looking for a white knight. Robin Shannan, the firm's Executive Chairman, told the Sunday Herald last weekend that it "had not been enjoying the easiest of times", that "we are still trading and working towards a merger possibility" but that some parts of the business might have to be broken up.

The admission is hardly a surprise. The firm's accounts were due to be filed back in January and are now nearly seven months overdue, prompting speculation that it was in some trouble. But when RollOnFriday contacted the firm two weeks ago a spokeswoman categorically denied that it was "in any difficulty whatsoever".  This week she said "the information which McClure Naismith provided to you at the time of our correspondence on 6th August was accurate", and that she had given "straight answers". So the firm's massive debts and its profits collapse can only have kicked off over the last fortnight then.

    A pork pie yesterday

Readers might remember fellow Scottish firm Semple Fraser insisting that it was still "trading well" just four weeks before it went into administration. We'll eat our orange hat if McClures hasn't entered into a pre-pack in a matter of days, the partners having jumped ship to competitor firms and creditors and staff being left without a pot to piss in.
 
Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

The firm has yet to tell staff ANYTHING. All we have had is a couple of emails from the 'Executive Chairman' along the lines of "it's business as usual, folks" - whilst partners cheerily pack their belongings into boxes.

It's pathetic - we have to rely on The Lawyer and ROF to find out what's going on.

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

Apparently the first staff heard about this was in the papers on Sunday. I am told the only communication so far as been an email from the chairman with a link to the newspaper article. Oh well I am sure the partners will be able to trouser some more cash before they leave while the staff are left with no pay for this month. They have probably known this would have that they were planning this course of action. This must call in to question the integrity of some of these people. Are they fit to practice? I wonder what the law society of Scotland would say???

Roll On Friday 21 Aug 15

Yes not telling staff is pretty reprehensible but unfortunately the strategically sensible thing to do if you are actually trying to save the firm.

A whiff of "we're all utterly shafted and going to be out of a job in 3 weeks" will see each and every sensible fee earner jumping ship (as, so rumor goes nearly happened at Halliwells when trainee partner Paul rose allegedly told the trainees they were buggered. Said trainess went back to teams and teams the teams started looking to jump out of the train wreck).

That then destroys any value the firm has and scuppers any rescue merger talks and shafting anyone not an allegedly amazing rain maker.

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

If the firm has traded for the last month without the ability to pay the staff (and others) that is utterly disgusting- in addition to being a civil wrong and a criminal offence.

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

Lawyers in righteous Scotland lying to their staff leaving them up shit creek. Who'd have though it?

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

You are remembering that the staff will read this, right?? Your flippancy is a bit insensitive. I for one have no idea how I'm paying my mortgage next month

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

Unfortunately, the firm has lost a huge amount of staff over the last few years and has not invested in training, its premises, IT etc and so is very old fashioned. Although there are a number of really good lawyers there, they have been stifled by the way the business has been run. They still punch above their weight for quality of clients and so I am quite sure they will find alternative employment. I feel incredibly sorry for the staff although it has been obvious for some time that all was not well.
To the poster above, remember that the Scottish Solicitor's Benevolent Fund may be able to help ....

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

Pre-pack and divvy up between DWF and MMS. Sad to see another stalwart bite the dust.

Anonymous 21 Aug 15

I do find it quite amazing that partners can get away with running a business in to the ground and turning up elsewhere the next day especially since being sequestrated or entering in to a debt arrangement would get us struck off. If certain partners there fell in the Clyde, they would come out with a salmon.

Anonymous 22 Aug 15

So is Scotland overlawyered, did these particular partners screw up their business, is the underlying economy just not good enough to support the number of firms it once did or have others been more successful at winning the work that's the old time names?

Anonymous 22 Aug 15

It's very simple. Bad management! Profits drop, a couple of big earners get fed up and go elsewhere. Profits drop further, more leave. Downward spiral and that's it. . . . . .

Anonymous 23 Aug 15

....poor management, no leadership in recent years, unwillingness to tackle resistance to change in older partners. So the good guys go . A fine firm, squandered. Looks like things are going to change now....

Anonymous 23 Aug 15

The problem has been ancient equity partners stuck in their ways, refusing to evolve with the times and invest in systems, staff and technology. There are some very talented, hardworking non-partner lawyers and support staff in the firm, hopefully someone will be wise enough to snap them up quickly

Anonymous 23 Aug 15

It's incompetant management. The same partners have been managing the firm for 20 years and they are no good at it. They are also hugely arrogant and would never recognise their own shortcomings. The market has spoken and others are suffering.

Anonymous 23 Aug 15

Trouble is it doesn't matter how talented of hard-working some of the people affected may be. Lawyers are mostly so narrow minded any job loss is held against the individuals who lose out not the firm or the senior people who created the mess in the first place.

Anonymous 23 Aug 15

they wouldn't look at merger a few years ago when they needed to as it would have involved long standing management losing their roles and justification. They wouldn't have survived any objective diligence. so nothing happens except continued and certain decline. Shocking indictment.

Anonymous 25 Aug 15

Smells like a Semple Fraser - expect an email soon to say good morning and good nite we are sorry but we are going to another firm but you are not.

Anonymous 25 Aug 15

I do wonder if this is down to the Scottish Ministers being so anti-investment. I have had a fund client recently decline to take on the Scottish property in the acquisition of a UK investment portfolio because of the uncertainty over the future direction Scotland will take with the prospect of a second referendum (that and having to use a separate law firm unknown to them).

Still expecting to hear how this is the fault of perfidious Albion. If a tree falls down in Scotland and there's no-one to hear it, is it still the fault of the English?

Anonymous 25 Aug 15

If the apparent insiders are to be believed it's management however a firm doing well would not be afraid of investment which makes me think they were doing their best in a challenging market which will not have been helped by the indyref and ongoing separatist rhetoric.

Bad times for lawyers in Scotland. Even more of them on the market won't have a good effect on pay or job security of those in work. MN people looking for a job will find it hard. The only champagne all round will be for employers getting desperate people cheaply.

Anonymous 26 Aug 15

Still trading, it would appear. I wonder what the SLCC / Law Society will make of it all if the staff are not paid. Complaints are a certainty and they are going to find it impossible to justify wrongful trading. Some big professional problems coming to the management.

Anonymous 26 Aug 15

The word on sauchieha street is the administrators are waiting in the wings. The staff of course remain in the dark...

Anonymous 28 Aug 15

so... Administrators appointed today. Fingers crossed they are prepacked out by Monday

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