ONCE one of Scotland’s wealthiest law firms Maclay Murray & Spens (MMS) has struggled in the years since the financial crash, with turnover falling from £60.8 million in 2007/08 - its best-ever year - to £44.7m in 2015/16.

Like many firms MMS suffered after the Scottish banks, once the lifeblood of the legal sector, shifted their procurement away from Edinburgh - and its old-school ties - to centralised bases in London.

Unlike many rivals, however, it failed to secure a tie-up that would give it more clout on an ever-more globalised stage, with partners’ over-inflated sense of their own worth thought to be behind the demise of earlier talks with both Bond Pearce and Addleshaw Goddard.

Loading article content

And so the news that MMS has succumbed to the advances of Dentons - the world’s largest law firm, no less - is at the same time surprising yet not entirely unexpected.

MMS chief executive Kenneth Shand has made no secret of his desire to see the firm grow but - while no one could accuse Dentons of being the best firm in the world - that it has managed to do so by combining with a firm that has such a wide reach is nothing short of stunning.

Yes, MMS, which can trace its roots back to the 19th century, has had to give up both its name and its independence in order to compete on the global stage.

But with Scottish independents like Brodies and Burness Paull increasingly talking up their own international capabilities MMS, for so long the laggard of the sector, may just have stolen a little bit of a march on its rivals.