Edinburgh legal partnership is planning for the future

Following another impressive year Urquharts, a well-known and respected name in the Edinburgh legal community, aims to use these results to attract the next generation.

By Stephen Wilkie
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 12:16 pm

Operating from to Heriot Row in the heart of the New Town, Urquharts has just completed one of its busiest periods on record, growing turnover by 5% in each of the past two years, despite the pandemic and all the challenges brought by that disruption to our working lives.

The latest results come a year after the retirement of Senior Partner Roderick Urquhart, which ended an unbroken connection with the family who founded the firm in 1876.

The current five partners of the firm, which employs 15 staff including five fee earners, say its performance demonstrates that there is definitely still a place in the modern legal market for a firm like Urquharts.

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L-R Urquharts Solicitors, Alison Grandison and Sara Smith (Pic: Ian Georgeson)

Stephen Blane, Urquharts’ Senior Partner, said: “Clients appreciate the high level of personal service that they receive here, and they come back time and time again.

“They also recommend the firm to their friends, family and contacts. The client base is growing from strength to strength and operationally the business is in excellent shape, all of which bodes well for the future of the firm.”

The partners have been undertaking succession planning at a senior level for a number of years with the addition of new partners, Sara Smith (formerly Shoosmiths) in 2018 and Alison Grandison (formerly Simpson & Marwick) in 2020.

Now they are turning their attention to finding the next generation of lawyers to join them. Stephen, a professional negligence expert and the firm’s sole court practitioner who, as a Solicitor Advocate pursues cases in the Court of Session and Sheriff Courts, would be delighted to find the right young lawyer to mentor and take over his court practice.

He added: “We offer fantastic opportunities for junior solicitors who want hands on experience with a high-quality case load. And looking to the future, there are great prospects for those who want to progress to partnership. The benefits of being a partner in a small firm cannot be overestimated as everybody round the table is involved in all decision making from start to finish.”

Partners Sara and Alison are enthusiastic about the opportunities awaiting younger lawyers.

Alison, who specialises in residential conveyancing for private and investor clients, said: “There is no getting away from the fact that life in the legal sector is stressful- wherever you work. However, in a smaller firm there is a great support network from colleagues which can help when things are especially busy.

“The exposure that a more junior solicitor would have to the breadth and quality of work done at Urquharts would not be something that they would experience at a larger firm being part of a bigger but highly specialised team.”

Sara, who specialises in private client work, said: “Urquharts may be viewed as ‘traditional’ but that does not mean old-fashioned. We are proud of our history but, equally, are looking forward to the years ahead when we can continue to grow and develop the business and our people."