Pinsents appoints former McGrigors chief as Scotland and Northern Ireland chair

Pinsent Masons has appointed former McGrigors managing partner Richard Masters as chair of its Scotland and Northern Ireland offices.

He succeeds Kirk Murdoch, who passed away in March having held the role since the firm’s 2012 merger with McGrigors.

Masters was previously a partner in the firm’s corporate practice since 2012. He was also executive chairman of cloud-based compliance platform Cerico since Pinsents took control of the business in 2015.

He is now non-executive director of Cerico alongside his new role. He continues to be based in Pinsents’ Glasgow office.

Pinsents managing partner John Cleland said: “Richard’s previous experience at executive board level and his successful tenure in charge of Cerico will be instrumental in further strengthening Pinsent Masons’ offering to clients in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Speaking to Legal Week, Masters said: “The key focus for me is to help and support Pinsent Masons in terms of its vision as a market-leading law firm across its core sectors, looking really to help and support the business and its people across Scotland and Northern Ireland, and really push the Pinsent Masons brand as a leading law firm in the region.”

He added: “The [Scottish legal] market at the minute is in a pretty good place. It seems to me that the business is very busy, we have had a very strong year and we are trading ahead of expectations at the moment.”

Masters was managing partner of McGrigors for four years up until the merger with Pinsents. He was a key architect of the deal, which at the time was the second-largest UK legal merger in history.

Following the deal, he took up a newly-created post as global client operations chief for three years, and gained a seat on the executive board of the merged firm.

In 2014, he lost out to financial institutions head John Cleland in a three-way race for the role of managing partner.

He is also understood to have played a key role in the launch of Pinsents’ flexible lawyering service Vario and its negotiation of sole legal adviser agreements with construction giant Balfour Beatty and energy company E.ON.

Pinsents has 500 lawyers and support staff based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Belfast.

In June the firm announced that it was opening an office in Dublin, with a trio of partner hires from local firms.