The Law Society of Scotland has said the brand of the profession north of the border is still strong despite the swallowing up of one of the country’s biggest firms.
London-headquartered CMS Cameron McKenna confirmed this week that it is to take over Dundas & Wilson.
The Scottish firm, which traces its roots back to 1759, was once considered one of the country’s own ‘magic circle’, but falling profits in 2012/13 pushed it towards a buyout.
It is the latest Scottish firm to disappear from the market, after McGrigors was taken over by English firm Pinsent Masons in 2012.
Analysts have suggested Scotland is losing its legal identity just as the country prepares for a referendum that could establish independence from the UK.
Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said it had long been predicted that Anglo-Scottish mergers would become more frequent as the legal market went through such change.
But the trend for mergers is not harming the legal profession in Scotland itself, she argued, even if firms are being taken over by firms in England.
‘It is important that Scotland has a strong legal profession to ensure that those living, working and operating businesses in Scotland are well-served by its legal system,’ said Jack.
‘It’s equally important to remember that firms which may be headquartered outside Scotland remain huge employers of Scottish solicitors who serve a wide client base within Scotland, elsewhere in the UK and across the globe, and they will continue to make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.’
Jack pointed out that Pinsent Masons, for example, remains the largest employer of Scottish solicitors and that numbers have grown since the merger.
She added: ‘While it may be considered disappointing that overall control and some element of profits of merged firms flow elsewhere, it does not diminish the brand of the Scottish solicitor.’