Although our survey was conducted among lawyers in England and Wales, this firm, which originated in Edinburgh and has a large office there, received many commendations from the respondents, obviously impressed by its banking and finance work in the City and internationally. It has enjoyed spectacular growth in the decade since it opened a London office, with revenue up 9 per cent in 12 months to top £20m for the first time in 2017-18. The firm credits a strategy of “investment in talent” for driving 60 per cent revenue growth in five years.
Its largest single investment was the 2013 merger with Macdonalds, a Glasgow firm specialising in significant debt recovery and litigation, acting for banks and finance houses. Scotland’s oldest legal firm, Macdonalds was founded by John Wilson in 1614; when the Wilson dynasty died out after seven generations in 1884, the practice was taken over by John Macdonald. The Morton Fraser name originated in 1829, when Charles Morton went into practice in Edinburgh.
Today the firm has the largest public-sector team in Scotland, with more than 80 specialists personally led by the partner chairwoman Maggie Moody. It serves more than 100 clients, including the Scottish government, Edinburgh city council, Transport Scotland, the Royal Mail and the Ministry of Defence.
Morton Fraser has 12 dual-qualified lawyers who can work in the Scottish legal system, and its commercial real-estate team has a growing reputation in the City and internationally. It is the lead adviser on the drinks giant Diageo’s commercial property interests across the UK.
Commended for Banking and Finance.