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19 October 2020

Historic Simpson & Marwick brand revived after Clyde & Co sheds Scottish property arm

Amicable de-merger sees longstanding name return to Scotland five years after it was sacrificed in merger

By Ben Rigby

Edinburgh Shutterstock

Clyde & Co has parted ways with its Scottish residential property practice. 

The 26-lawyer practice, which combines property law, conveyancing and estate agency, will revert to the Simpson & Marwick brand which was sacrificed when Simpson & Marwick merged with Clyde & Co five years ago.

It will become part of the Aberdeins Group, whose founder, Robert Aberdein, will act as managing partner, while veteran property partner Richard Loudon becomes chairman, 41 years after first joining the firm.

Loudon said: “We move with the full support of Clyde & Co as the services we offer are not part of their global core areas of expertise. The time is right, for both Clyde & Co and us, to de-merge our residential property division.”

Loudon added the firm would “continue to protect the legacy of the Simpson & Marwick brand established in 1886. We will take it forward into a new era, unlike so many well established and respected Edinburgh law firms that have disappeared in recent years.” 

The legacy Simpson & Marwick commercial property team will remain with 440-partner Clyde & Co, alongside its insurance, disputes, healthcare and employment law teams. 

Vikki Melville, Clyde & Co’s Scottish managing partner, said: “We thank the residential property team for all their hard work and service to the firm over the years and we wish them all the very best in their new home. We are proud that the Simpson & Marwick name will live on.”

In joining the Aberdeins, Simpson & Marwick will invest in technology to assist clients, lawyers and estate agents alike. It also plans to make lateral hires to boost its capabilities and relocate to a new Edinburgh address. 

Robert Aberdein said it aimed to be a disruptive force in professional services, combining accountancy, property and private client, legal, financial and estate agency services. With ten staff at launch and offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, it aims to achieve £10m turnover by 2022.   

“The Aberdeins name will become an umbrella for a wide range of professional services, done differently. At its core will be legal services, but we are not just launching a law firm, we are about to deliver the biggest shake up to the Scottish legal scene in decades,” said Aberdein.

Last week, Clyde & Co announced the closure of its Oxford office and the relocation of its legal teams to its Manchester and Bristol branches.

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