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Blackadders: Dundee law firm’s ‘disaster recovery plan’ limits Covid impact

Blackadders managing partner Johnston Clark is stepping down.
Blackadders managing partner Johnston Clark is stepping down.

Major Dundee law firm Blackadders has reported strong financial results despite dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The firm’s turnover fell to £13 million for the year to March 31 2021, down from £13.9m in 2020.

Operating profit was up across the period, from £3.8m in 2020 to £4.6m.

The firm reported the year under review had started against the backdrop of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Managing partner Johnston Clark said: “Our disaster recovery plan which had been carefully prepared was very effective.

Blackadders.

“We were able to maintain client service throughout, subject to the courts and public registers functioning.”

Blackadders has offices in Aberdeen, Arbroath, Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

‘Tight financial regime’ for Blackadders

Mr Clark hailed a “tight financial regime” which allowed Blackadders to strengthen its balance sheet on the back of improved profit margin and recoveries.

Staff numbers fell slightly, to 211 from 229, with 99 in client services and 112 in support roles.

The reduction in headcount saw the overall wage bill drop from £5.7m to £5.5m.

Mr Clark said he was pleased to see new partners join the firm – Lynn Melville, John Dargie and Steven Connolly.

John Dargie joined the Blackadders team.

The firm’s “grow its own” policy of recruiting and retaining trainee solicitors on qualification continued.

The firm appointed six newly qualified solicitors and an intake of eight new trainees this year.

The managing partner confirmed his resolve to “keep the best bits” of digitalisation while acknowledging the benefits of face-to-face meeting with clients who expect personal service.

Blackadders adopt hybrid working system

Earlier this year, Mr Clark said 10 years of progress was made in 10 months in the Scottish legal system.

He said virtual hearings and submissions made in writing instead of in person have created “efficiencies”.

And Mr Clark said Blackadders is also adopting a new way of working.

He said: “Going forward, we will operate a hybrid working system which will allow maximum flexibility and agility in service delivery.”

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