Full-service law firm Ledingham Chalmers has set aside £200,000 to support staff with the rising cost of living.
Announced at the same time as the Aberdeen-headquartered firm’s financial results, this bonus means each member of staff employed on 10 October, 2022 — and not serving notice — will receive a one-off payment of £1,200.
It is part of a £400,000 pot for staff including discretionary bonuses and the performance related pay (PRP) scheme.
Managing Partner Jennifer Young said: “Everyone is dealing with a rising cost of living, and we haven’t underestimated what that means for our colleagues, so it’s important we take steps to provide as much support as we can.
“That’s why, as well as these bonuses and PRP payments, we’ve benchmarked salaries against the marketplace and are reviewing our wider benefits package.”
This decision, the firm says, reflects a positive set of financial results for 2021/22 which include its highest turnover — £12.8million — since becoming a limited liability partnership (LLP) in 2006.
Turnover for the group, including subsidiary Ledingham Chalmers Financial, was £13.6million, compared with £12.3million in 2020/21. Group profit also rose to £4.1million from £4million the previous year.
Plus, the firm’s charitable trust donated £13,000 between April 2021 and 2022 including £7,000 to recognise colleagues’ efforts to mark its 30 years in business.
The results follow a strong performance across the board including in the staple corporate and commercial practice areas. Results from the rural and private client teams continued to rise against the previous years.
Mrs Young added: “Year-on-year growth in the private client discipline, including residential property and rural, has been encouraging and reflects a lot of hard work from colleagues, as well as strategic investment. The most recent example being when the Simpson & Marwick Aberdeen estate agency team joined us in 2019.
“That, along with a strong performance in insurance and personal injury litigation, where we continue to act Scotland-wide for one of the UK’s largest insurers as well as a host of public sector organisations, and our involvement in some of the highest profile commercial transactions in the north and north east gives us a robust platform for growth.”
Last year, Ledingham Chalmers announced its goal was to double its turnover to £25million by 2025.
The firm plans to expand its commercial offering through strategic mergers and acquisitions, complementing work it already does with public sector organisations and individuals, as well as multinational organisations, national companies, and high potential SMEs.
These businesses operate across industries that drive the national economy, including energy, oil and gas, renewables, commercial property, construction, agriculture, leisure, and tourism, as well as insurance.
Right people, right roles
Mrs Young said having the right people in the right roles across its offices through recruitment and developing talent is also crucial for growth.
Firm-wide there have been 55 new starts since November 2021, bringing the headcount as of 10 October 2022 to 176 including 27 partners.
High profile hires over the last year include senior associate Jane Rattray and associate Eilidh Findlay in litigation as well as — in rural — associate Ross McNaughton and senior solicitors Jason Rust and Emily Flett-Grant.
In April, Ledingham Chalmers announced eight promotions including Victoria Leslie to equity partner and Andrew Stott to partner. Mr Stott is also the president of Inverness Chamber of Commerce.
Mrs Young said: “The market is changing dramatically, client demand is evolving, and also how we deliver legal services is changing. So, it’s going to be an exciting time for the firm. The exceptionally competitive marketplace for recruiting, winning, and retaining business is certainly a challenge, but one I think we’re more than up for.”