Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SCOTS LAW PLC: Reality Check - Public cash bankrolls profits of ‘top name’ Scots law firms as Scottish Government award £44m contracts to nine legal service providers

Public cash – the ‘food bank’ for Scots law firms IN ADDITION to £1 billion provided in legal aid public cash handed over to lawyers since the financial crash of 2008, and hundreds of millions more taken by law firms from Scots local authorities & public bodies, the Scottish Government this week awarded an extra £44 million in public funds to nine private law firms to provide a range of services from litigation to debt recovery.

The four year Framework Agreement for the Provision of Legal Services contract, now a regular event and previously covered here in 2011: ScotGov legal services contracts link to law firm hospitality also reveals the soaring cost of the contract to taxpayers, now standing at £44 million in 2015, an increase of £24 million from 2011 when the contract was a mere £20 million.

And, as reported in 2011, again, law firms who feature in the latest list of winning bidders coincidentally also appear in lists of hospitality given to key civil servants who head the Scottish Government’s legal departments.

Among the firms to win large hand outs from taxpayers are Brodies LLP, who received free airtime earlier this week for ramping up their profits to £57.9 million.

However, publicity relating to the high profits notably failed to mention the very same law firm – Brodies – like so many others in the list of ScotGov legal provider contract winners – serve numerous Scottish local authorities and a host of Scottish public bodies - collectively earning millions more from the public purse for doing so.

The latest round of extra work for hard up ‘top notch’ Scots law firms on the taxpayer ticket comes on top of figures released by the Scottish Government in response to a Freedom of Information request which reveal a further £9 million (£9,043,617) was spent in the past year by the Scottish Government on 137 lawyers & staff employed at the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, Legal Secretariat to the Lord Advocate  and Parliamentary Counsel Office.

The tender process for latest round of provision of legal services to the Scottish Government - launched a year ago, was run by the Scottish Procurement and Commercial Directorate with the finalised framework available to over one hundred public bodies in Scotland, including NHS organisations, fire and rescue services, the Scottish police authority and the equality and human rights commission.

The former panel was renewed in 2011 and included eleven firms, namely Anderson Strathern; Biggart Baillie; Brodies; DLA Piper; Dundas & Wilson (now CMS); Harper Macleod; Ledingham Chalmers; Maclay Murray & Spens; MacRoberts; Morton Fraser and Pinsent Masons.

The current framework comprises:

Lot 1 – Value £3.6 million: Contracts, Commercial and Corporate: Anderson Strathern, Harper Macleod, MacRoberts, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

Lot 2 – Value £10 million: Debt Recovery: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

Lot 3 – Value £10.8 million: Litigation, Reparation, Employment and Inquiries: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Weightmans

Lot 4 – value £8.8 Million: Major Projects: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, DWF, Harper MacLeod and MacRoberts

Lot 5 – Value £6.8 million: Property and Related Matters: Anderson Strathern, DLA Piper, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

Lot 6 – Value £4 million: One Stop Shop: Anderson Strathern, Brodies, Harper MacLeod, Morton Fraser and Thorntons

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah the world respected Scottish legal sector - in reality held together by taxpayers money.
Must be getting on for 2 in 3 jobs are public sector related.How do you guys manage it?

Anonymous said...

Hmm contract more than doubled from £20 million to £44 million.
Quite a bump up for some.Little input for a good return.

Any daring msp willing to question why so much of OUR money is going on lawyers over and above the 137 already working for the Scottish Government.

Anonymous said...

"Among the firms to win large hand outs from taxpayers are Brodies LLP, who received free airtime earlier this week for ramping up their profits to £57.9 million.

However, publicity relating to the high profits notably failed to mention the very same law firm – Brodies – like so many others in the list of ScotGov legal provider contract winners – serve numerous Scottish local authorities and a host of Scottish public bodies - collectively earning millions more from the public purse for doing so."

Do not expect one public/license fee funded body (BBC Scotland) to rat out another for sipping from the public purse!

Anonymous said...

WASTE WASTE WASTE!If the billions and millions were spent on people instead of lawyers there wouldnt be any need for food banks and why is the Govt hiring more lawyers to go debt collecting and also they will have to pay for sheriff officers and all the rest of it when they have plenty lawyers already working for them?

Anonymous said...

Good to have your 2011 article on tap for comparison.

Read the list of firms who won.Almost a duplicate of before.This is a story in its own, and how certain egos keep business and relationships with SG to themselves.

I take it you are aware when less well known or small law firms put in bids for these contracts a call comes in warning business with Edinburgh agents may be more difficult unless they withdraw.

Well known in the trade.

Justice Diary said...

@ 29 July 2015 at 18:26

Yes, seems to be a similar trend also affecting legal services contracts with Scottish local authorities where smaller & hard working High Street law firms are budgeted down to pennies for work or completely shut out of larger contract bidding while 'big name' legal providers with hospitality budgets & connections muscle in under pretence of expertise etc

Anonymous said...

Sounds like some serious bid rigging for legal work going on in Scotland.Am I surprised?No.

Anonymous said...

The £44m will be more about keeping the legal gang on side and sweet to whatever daft Scottish Gov laws they want to come up with next.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes BBC Scotland who effectively decide what the news is and what people DONT need to know.Well fortunately for modern civilization some of us are less taken in now with a glossy beeb headline praising lawyers profits and not bothering to tell us how they make it.

Anonymous said...

If they spent the money property there would not be any food banks so yeah why spend it on lawyers when we should be helping people instead of stitching them up in court and stuff like that

Anonymous said...

Helluva blog admire the way you stand up to the legal mafia

Anonymous said...

I see a list of famous law firms who represent fracking companies now hired by the Scottish Govt to do their dirty work.I know its all money (well our money) but kind of sad don't you think they halfheartedly ban fracking then hire the same lawyers lobbying ministers to allow landowners to frack the hell out of Scotland.

Anonymous said...

re the comment regarding who won the tender and the response from Justice Diary I wholeheartedly concur

Anonymous said...

So what we have here is a closed shop bidding and tendering process for public contracts where the top tier of law firms lie their way through to success.Not a coincidence the same faces keep showing up is it.

btw
Thanks for your praise of hard working High Street solicitors.Makes a change!

Anonymous said...

Ah, so this is what Nicola and the SNP mean when they mouth off about their anti-austerity policy. All is now clear.

Anonymous said...

I can personally attest to the poor standard of work by firms on the Provision of Legal Services.

In many cases work is not carried out by partners or qualified personnel rather inexperienced paralegals and secretaries who have no idea what they are doing.Result is the work has to be done again (x2 in some cases) at one of the winning bidders whom I used to work for.

Anonymous said...

ref the beeb publicity on Brodies profits are they dressing themselves up for a corporate takeover or merger?