WJM invests in people and premises as it sets sights on future growth
This time last year we were reflecting on a period of unprecedented change and disruption spanning every sector. Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie’s focus was firmly on helping clients to adapt to the new normal, navigate their way out of the challenges and rebuild.
Twelve months down the line we are pleased to see many businesses now starting to come out of the other side, and our employment and contracts experts have proven particularly invaluable during this period.
So many businesses have been forced to reevaluate how they operate, seeking guidance on everything from flexible working models and working from home to business collaboration.
We too have had to adapt the way we work, with virtual consultations and remote working allowing us to continue providing a first-class service for our loyal client base throughout lockdown.
Although restrictions have lifted, we have no plans to return to the ‘old normal’. Instead, we are focusing on the lessons learned and the positives, and plan to adopt a hybrid working model that allows us to adapt to client needs.
We’re rolling this out gradually over the coming six months, continually evaluating as we go to find what works best for our people – the backbone of our business – and our clients.
The green recovery
Pre-lockdown we had a packed events schedule, including our annual renewable energy seminar which has always proved exceptionally popular.
It is a key event for our renewables experts, stimulating debate around the green recovery, and despite last year’s restrictions we were determined to see the 2020 event go ahead.
We hosted it online for the first time ever, attracting some 130 people to hear what our experts had to say about onshore wind, grid availability, charging reform, habitat management and impacts on communities.
This year we were delighted to be able to welcome delegates back in person to our 2021 event, entitled ‘Onshore Wind and the Path to Net Zero’ held at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. It was arguably one
of our most important renewables events ever, taking place at the same time as Cop26 at a time when businesses are more focused on sustainability than ever.
WJM’s renewables team were joined by guest speakers including David MacArthur, director of MacArthur Green, and David Bell, director of David Bell Planning Limited, and explored the latest hot topics in relation to onshore wind.
They shared their insights on the implications for developers of the emerging carbon units market, in particular looking at what that will mean for landowner relations and the route to consent. The seminar also provided the opportunity to examine likely policy trends as Scotland looks to meet its own 2030 targets.
Over the last year we brought on two new Partners to further strengthen our offering across Scotland. In our Inverness office we welcomed Magnus Mackay who specialises in private client work including wills, estate planning inheritance tax, trusts and powers of attorney.
Private client specialist Roddy Harrison also joined us, bringing considerable expertise in high level tax and estate planning. Principally based in Edinburgh, he works with our private client teams across
Glasgow, Dunfermline, Inverness and Dunblane.
The year also saw planning expert Nicola Martin, who is based in Edinburgh, stepping up to Partner. Nicola, who is dual qualified, advises on residential and renewable energy projects, helping clients to address issues relating to all aspects of the development consenting regime Career development is a high priority at WJM and we are committed to nurturing talent and ensuring we have the strongest team offering for our clients.
In recognition of the outstanding work of our dedicated team we also made a number of other promotions over the last 12 months.
Several staff rose through the ranks to become senior solicitors, associates and senior associates across a range of areas including planning, renewables, private client and commercial property.
To set us in good stead for further growth, we have made significant investment in our software and IT systems to reflect our new ways of working and changing client needs.
As the lease on our Glasgow office is set to come to an end, we are also excited to announce a new beginning – we are moving into a modern new space at St Vincent Plaza.
This will be our fourth office on St Vincent Street in a period spanning three centuries, so it’s nice to maintain our ties with the area while moving with the times and operating from an office that meets the needs of our people and our clients.
In early 2022 we will set up home in our new high-quality office space which is the perfect fit for our modern, future-thinking practice.
Our people-focused firm prides itself in being an attractive place to work and we believe this new base will greatly enhance our collaborative working as we move forward.
Our investment in our people and our premises is crucial as we look to the future, particularly as we see
activity levels picking back up across all sectors.
This is a positive sign of the economy getting back into gear, so it is essential we have the infrastructure and the people to provide the highest standard of service as new business comes in.
I am confident these latest developments will set us in good stead for future growth and I look forward to seeing what the coming year brings.
Fraser Gillies is Managing Partner at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP