HBJ Gateley completes seven-strong senior hiring round

Malcolm McPherson

HBJ Gateley has completed a round of seven senior hires, including six new partners, as it reported profit growth of 16 per cent in the first half of the financial year.

The latest hires are Glasgow-based Nick Taylor and Paul Ockrim, both of whom join from property-focused legal firm Leslie Wolfson & Co.

In Edinburgh, the firm has brought in Helena Brown from Burness Paull (intellectual property) and ex-McClure Naismith banking partner John Blackwood.

Corporate restructuring partner Addi Shamash, promoted from senior associate in Edinburgh, has joined the growing Aberdeen office along with former Subsea 7 in-house counsel consultant Alison Sim.

Consultant Philip Argo, who brings years of industry experience in businesses including Peak Well Systems, Venture Production and Ithaca Energy, adds to the senior team in Aberdeen.

Against the backdrop of a toughening legal sector which has seen a number of law firms fail or being acquired in recent years, senior partner Malcolm McPherson said sound management and strong teams had been the key to HBJ Gateley’s continued growth trajectory.

He said: “We’ve focused very hard on hiring the right people and keeping a firm hand on the tiller to ensure strong cashflow. Quality advisors who can win work and earn the trust of clients is something of a magic potion which isn’t always easy to get right.

“We look very closely at who fits our business and we move quickly to get them on board, and we spot internal talent which we can nurture from early in their careers.

“We have grown strongly across the practice and we’re confident of the outlook for the rest of the year. These appointments absolutely reflect the requirements of clients and we’ll continue to look for people who can contribute to the growth of the firm.”

This year, HBJ Gateley has completed deals including:

  • Advising Caledonian MacBrayne owner CMAL, the owner of the famous Caledonian MacBrayne fleet, on the £97 million shipbuilding contracts for the construction of two dual-fuel LNG powered passenger ferries, to be built at Ferguson Marine Engineering in Port Glasgow.
  • Advising Santander UK Plc on the £21.4m refinance of Handsale, a care home group based in London.
  • The £40 million acquisition of 18 residential developments comprising 500 flats.
  • Mr McPherson added: “We’ve laid out a robust strategy to grow the business in a steady and sustainable way, and worked very hard to deliver that.

    “At the core of our success are excellent people who perform consistently well, and loyal clients who continue to involve us in their own successes.

    “Recent events in the legal sector have shown that we’re still operating in a very tough and unforgiving market, but we’ve been very deliberate in how we’ve shaped our business to help us navigate those challenges over the long-term.

    “Our clients, staff and partners have given us their backing, which puts us on a firm footing to take the business from strength to strength.”

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