Balfour+Manson LLP Info
Balfour + Manson Solicitors & Property Sales in Aberdeen, Glasgow & Edinburgh: Review
Okay, with this review we have a lot to get through. So please don't bear a grudge if some bits and pieces don't get the full run-down that you've come to expect from our law firm articles. This is a historic firm, embedded not just in the local communities - but in some high profile news as well. Plus, as an Aberdonian myself, my experience of Balfour Manson is not limited to the last few years I've been working with them. Just for the sake of clarity - I'll admit to having actually engaged the services of two of the solicitors at Balfour and Manson in the past, albeit when they were working at other firms. So I think I can still be unbiased.
The first thing to note is the firm's modernisation. Insurance companies, supermarkets, even plumbers can just overhaul their company and websites to be modern with modern language. However, when it comes to solicitors - people want the impossible. They want a firm that sounds established, professional, and wig-wearing ... but also for them to be up-to-date, tech-minded, and jargon free.
Alot of firms mess this up, especially on social media and in radio/TV adverts. They end up looking like your Dad dancing a wedding.
Balfour + Manson have gone for a snappy, plain logo with a lowercased "b+m". They have "established 1888" at the top and links to their social media accounts at the bottom. They have clickable phone numbers for mobiles and an adaptable site to display on desktops, tablets, or mobile devices. They have profile pages for their staff, but all the profile photos show people dressed smartly in an office setting. The whole site looks professional and puts across the idea that this firm is well established and filled with professional acting people. However, it does this without looking stuffy or ten years out of date.
For individuals and families they handle family law, employment law, professional negligence, home buying and selling, personal injury, medical negligence, elderly care, bereavement law such as wills and probate, guardianship, power of attorney, tax matters, trusts and more.
For businesses the can help put together projects and deals, employment law, charity accounting and law, resolving disputes, commercial property purchases and sales, commercial litigation, debt recovery, insolvency and other common business legal issues.
They have three main offices - Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. They have expanded their Aberdeen operations in 2016 by merging with the 25-year-old law firm Duthie Ward solicitors. For this they moved from their own premises on Albyn Place to Duthie Ward's Carden Place office. Duthie Ward's partners, Alastair Duthie and Richard Ward, have joined Balfour & Manson as consultants. Their staff members have also moved across, taking the Aberdeen department's headcount to 16. The firm's executive chairman/chairwoman/chairperson (pick your favourite) Elaine Motion, stated:
"Alastair and Richard are both very well-known and well-respected lawyers in Aberdeen with deep roots in the city. Their expertise in private client and family law work will add even more to our expanding range of services for customers in Aberdeen. And the office in Carden Place is perfect for us, right in the heart of the city's business area."
In our opinion, the highest possible profile case for Balfour Manson in the Aberdeenshire region came when they were instructed by Donald Trump to try and block the building of a wind farm in view of Trump's billion pound golf course. The course itself was the subject of much debate and controversy for years, but was handled by a different firm (Dundas & Wilson) who later turned out to have ties with wind farm developer clients. As you can see, though, B+M have resisted the urge to publicise their connection with the new US president! A very wise decision.
Now for the stuff you probably don't know, and probably won't find on B&M's website:
There is actually an entire website dedicated to one of the firm's longest serving solicitors, and descendant of the original founders - Ian Balfour. Born in Edinburgh in 1932, Ian's grandfather and grandfather's nephew had already founded the law firm back in 1888. Ian's father, Francis, joined as a partner in 1922. By 1952, Ian was apprenticed to the firm, qualified as a solicitor in 1955, became a partner in 1958, and spent the next forty years in general legal practice. The website is mostly about his other exploits, but there is a downloadable PDF of the 125 year history of the firm written by Ian himself.
Balfour + Manson have a fundraising page on JustGiving.org where they have raised nearly £7,000 (at time of writing this) for MS Society Scotland - a Multiple Sclerosis research and support charity. It looks as though the fundraising will be taking place over the course of a year with staff performing feats such as running 5K a day for 50 days to encourage donations.
The firm is part of the Parlex Group; an international network of 30 independent law firms specialising in commercial law. This apparently gives Parlex access to 150 legal specialists across 27 countries to put businesses in touch with good specialists. They have a Twitter feed at @TheParlexGroup where we spotted that some of BalfourManson's staff play for the Parlex Group's football team. There seems to be a league for legal professionals to play football against each other. I had no idea!
They are also listed on the Disability Scotland information website. Whilst a large number of firms will ensure some level of disability help, such as wheelchair access to the offices - this seems to be something more. Entitled "Balfour Manson (Disability Legal Services)" the stated aim is:
"To provide legal services to clients with any form of disability, and to carers throughout Scotland."
The listing and information is about the Edinburgh office which has a whopping 120 staff compared to the more modest levels at their Aberdeen and Glasgow locations. So if you have any form of disability or questions about disabled legal services outside of Edinburgh, it would be advisable to get in touch and discuss your needs.
B+M did dabble with a YouTube channel a couple of years ago, but it seems to have lost momentum. In all honesty, having run YouTube channels for various firms in various industries - law firms will struggle to obtain actual clients from creating content on video sharing websites. People will always look for free advice videos online, but those that do are usually only looking for that free advice.
I'll bring it to a close here, but I hope that the bits and pieces I've brought up have given you a better overview of just who this firm was, is, and wants to be. The brand can almost be anthropomorphised, which is always a good indication of something more than just a few solicitors with some headed paper.
A quick note on navigation though. Obviously we're linking to www.balfour-manson.co.uk and often with hyphens people can make mistakes. However, www.balfourmanson.co.uk and www.balfourmanson.co.uk are currently owned by different people. As is www.balfour-manson.com and www.balfourandmanson.co.uk, which brings us to another point. With the company's branding using plus signs now, you need to know that plus signs "+" and ampersands "&" cannot be part of a web address. So www.balfour+manson.co.uk or www.balfour&manson.co.uk will never work. This goes for the .com versions as well. Also, the merger with Duthie Ward did not do away with the individual websites. If you go to www.duthieward.co.uk (www.duthieward.com is blank) you'll see a stand alone website, but they describe themselves as consultants to Balfour and Manson.
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with Balfour+Manson LLP it's best to visit the website (www.balfour-manson.co.uk), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
This Balfour+Manson LLP article is rated
4.5 / 5 based on 28 reviews. †
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