Law firm Anderson Strathern pursues M&A strategy by merging with Lerwick business

From left: paralegal Jennifer Smith and associate Laura Sinclair with colleague Neil Risk. Picture: Dave Donaldson.From left: paralegal Jennifer Smith and associate Laura Sinclair with colleague Neil Risk. Picture: Dave Donaldson.
From left: paralegal Jennifer Smith and associate Laura Sinclair with colleague Neil Risk. Picture: Dave Donaldson.
Anderson Strathern has announced a merger with Lerwick-based Neil Risk Solicitor and Estate Agent – saying the deal will help achieve its goal of becoming “the independent Scottish law firm of choice”.

The Shetland firm’s client base includes private clients, families, landowners and small and medium-sized enterprises, with practice areas focused on residential property, private client, commercial property, crofting and other work related to commercial business clients.

The deal will complement Anderson Strathern’s existing client base in Shetland and across the north of Scotland.

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Anderson Strathern managing partner Murray McCall said: “Neil has established and grown a highly-rated team operating out of Lerwick, and our combined offering means we will be able to offer a broader range of legal, asset management and HR services in Shetland and the local region.

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"From residential and commercial property to fishing, oil and gas, agriculture, crofting, tourism, leisure, food and drink, space and satellite, local government and an array of small businesses, there are so many successful sectors across Shetland that match up with our own strengths.”

He also said there are “strategic reasons” for Anderson Strathern growing its footprint in Scotland. “A northern Scottish presence supports our strategic objective to be the independent Scottish law firm of choice. Strengthening links in the north of Scotland, and the island communities in particular, will be much easier with an office and local presence in the region.”

Neil Risk becomes a partner at Anderson Strathern and head of the firm’s Shetland office, with plans to expand the team in Lerwick over the next 12 months. Risk said: “We’ve worked well with Anderson Strathern over the last couple of years, including via referrals, and when the opportunity to join the firm came up we were convinced by the strategic rationale for a merger. Anderson Strathern’s various practices strengthen our offering to clients in Shetland and across the region, and we are also now actively looking to recruit in Lerwick over the next year.”

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Mr Risk started the firm in 1995 with one secretary, who is still with the firm and is now a senior member of the team. He added that headcount has grown to eight, many of whom have been with the firm for a long period of time.


“That means we have been able to offer our clients a high-quality service down the years, and we’re proud to have so many longstanding and loyal clients. Shetland, in common with other communities throughout Scotland, has shown resilience through the pandemic and the expectation is that we can now look forward to a brighter future for the local economy.”

The merger will take place on April 1. It marks the latest deal for Anderson Strathern – whose clients include Buccleuch Estates, the Scottish government, Crown Estate Scotland, Clyde Gateway, Scotmid, Apex Hotels, Ineos, Edinburgh and Glasgow’s city councils, and the Scottish Prison Service – merging with Glasgow-headquartered Hardy Macphail in October 2019, for example.

Mr McCall had said last year that the firm would continue to look at ways to add growth by way of acquisition, and was “not ruling out further activity” in the months ahead.

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