CMS enters ‘organic growth’ following Scottish acquisition

CMS is in a period of “organic growth” in Scotland, one year on from the successful acquisition of Dundas & Wilson.

Stephen Millar, one of the firm’s two executive partners in Scotland, said the legal sector in Scotland is in a “more healthy” position because of ongoing consolidation and hailed the performance of CMS in Scotland over the past year.

Since the acquisition, CMS has appointed fourteen partners, secured high-profile panel appointments with SSE, Clydesdale Bank and Interserve, and doubled the size of its legal services unit.

Asked about further take-overs, he told The Herald: “If we’re looking at the Scottish market, we are into organic growth. We have got some fantastic people now and a great sense of what we can achieve.

“We’re not finished with growth as an organisation but probably in Scotland we are probably now into organic growth.”

However, he said he expected further consolidation of the legal sector to take place.

He said: “I suspect it is not at an end as yet. Just simply, if you listen to what other firms are saying you don’t get a sense from them that they are in their perfect sweet-spot. Therefore they will continue to be open-minded about things.”

A series of mergers and acquisitions have taken place in the Scottish legal sector since the recession as the result of increased financial pressures on law firms.

Scottish law firms RSB macdonald and Lindsays are among firms that will merge by the end of Summer.

Caryn Penley (pictured), who heads CMS in Scotland alongside Stephan Millar, was with Dundas & Wilson before the acquisition and said the merger had been a positive thing.

She said: “I’m from the legacy D&W side and from my perspective I think it has gone really well.

“From a D&W perspective, we had a lot of good clients, but we weren’t the right size and we didn’t have the reach to service our clients in the way we really wanted to. The combination has allowed us to do that.

“There are a number of examples where, historically, CMS and D&W would have had contact with similar clients.

“But the combination has meant we have got more work, have been able to service those clients in a way that those two separate firms could not have done before.

“For me that really underpins the success.”

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