MacRoberts is delighted to celebrate its 5th anniversary of operating in Dundee. Since opening its doors to the city in 2013, the firm has enjoyed immense growth and success in that time, quadrupling its headcount and expanding its service lines.
Reflecting on MacRoberts’ decision to open its third office in the city, Employment Partner and former Managing Partner John Macmillan – who has been based in the Dundee office since its opening – recalled the vast commercial opportunities which appeared to present themselves in 2012/2013 by dint of Dundee’s development plans, including the refurbishment of the Waterfront and, of course, the now-opened V&A.
“It came down to a choice between Inverness and Dundee, and Dundee was the clear winner for a number of reasons,” John said. “Not least because it was serviceable on a practical level from the existing offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but we already had quite a strong client presence across Dundee, Angus, Perth and Fife and, as such, there was a distinct value to be had in physically being in the region.”
MacRoberts opened its doors to Dundee in April 2013, with John volunteering to move his employment practice to the city. An Ayrshireman but a Dundee student himself, he has “absolutely no doubt it was the right decision”. His wife and he moved lock stock and barrel into the Dundee area. Following a “weird” first few days, the office got into full swing with a core team of four, including John, Real Estate Partner David Milne and Senior Associate Kyle Moir.
Fast-forward five years and the office has made “remarkable progress from an inevitably slow start”, remarks John, firmly establishing its presence in the vibrant and ever-growing city of Dundee. Since 2013, MacRoberts has quadrupled its Dundee-based headcount – resulting in a move to bigger premises within its home at River Court – and enhanced its legal service operations, now comprising Employment, Real Estate, Corporate, and IP, Technology and Commercial.
“Every day now, the office is bustling”, remarks John, with colleagues regularly travelling from Edinburgh and Glasgow for Dundee-related business. Moving to Dundee has given the firm a real competitive edge with the bigger players in the legal market, both in terms of service and cost. “It is my strong belief that competition creates a better market, and the market is certainly more competitive now,” says John.
Speaking of the workplace environment itself, John paid tribute to the MacRoberts Dundee office culture, hailing it as a “great place to work”. “Everyone works within the same space, everyone gets on famously, and there is a really good relationship dynamic in every corner of the office,” he adds. There is no doubt that moving MacRoberts to Dundee was the right decision – both in terms of commercial success, and making the office an excellent place to work. “We’ve achieved all that with room to spare,” says John. And, to boot, it’s turned out personally to be a fabulous place to live!
Looking ahead, there is a real aspiration for growth and a strong desire to grow the firm’s private client, corporate and litigation services in particular. With the opening of the V&A, which MacRoberts supported, there is a real feeling that Dundee is going to become much busier, both in terms of tourism and the commercial opportunities that come with that. However, John remarks, that is not just down to the V&A: “Dundee has all the right traits to become commercially busier,” he notes. “There is a real energy in the business community to maximise the wide-ranging commercial opportunities coming from developments such as the V&A, Waterfront, etc. – and if Dundee doesn’t deliver on that, then all of us will have failed. That failure won’t happen.”
“Of all the towns in Scotland, Dundee is the place to be in the next 5 years,” he adds.
The city of Dundee has been on a momentous journey to reinvent itself. Part of this journey has been about economic regeneration and the creation of new opportunities for companies. MacRoberts have been a welcome addition to the city and their support for V&A Dundee has in turn supported the wider waterfront regeneration project. Philip Long, Director, V&A Dundee