A new name is to hit the Aberdeen legal scene with two familiar faces behind it.
Private client-focused Esson & Aberdein will be led by Joni Esson, who spent more than ten years at Stronachs, and Rob Aberdein, who has gone on to become one of Scotland’s most prominent business figures since leaving Aberdein Considine.
The pair believe there is a “significant gap” in the market for a new firm with a technology focus but insist services must be less transactional and focused on building long-term, meaningful relationships with clients.
In late 2020, lawyer Aberdein launched the Scottish professional services umbrella company Moray Group. Esson & Aberdein will now be part of that stable of firms, which includes the legal and property specialist Simpson & Marwick in Edinburgh and East Lothian.
Aberdein said: “We are offering what people here are looking for and Joni is already getting work referred to her locally. I fully expect Aberdeen will go like a fair, despite the challenges in the oil and gas sector.
“Aberdeen has a lot of legacy firms that have been around for 100 years in various incarnations and are still trading despite themselves. There’s another generation of firms that did well during the oil boom and were lucky to be in a market when there was a lot of work. That blunted competitiveness.
“There are firms with good businesses, whose success has seen them reach a national level, making it harder to retain a local feel.
“Private client is a space that nobody has effectively owned. We’re bringing a fresh – albeit highly recognisable – brand and a real focus and commitment to normal everyday people in Aberdeen and the north-east.
“The scale and size of things isn’t that important. It’s not about being big, because big isn’t necessarily better,” he added.
Esson said: “Everybody needs a lawyer at some point in their lives. Many larger firms throughout Scotland have corporate and commercial clients as their main focus – which means ordinary people can be pretty far down the priority list.
“It is time private clients were put back at the front of our thoughts, so that is exactly what Esson & Aberdein will be doing. We’ll be totally focused on the city and Aberdeenshire, which is also something that is important to people in the north-east.
“This project is so exciting, because a new law firm like this is what Aberdeen has missed over the years.”
The firm will formally launch on April 26 and will open offices in the city’s west end. A series of appointments of key personnel is expected over the coming weeks.
Esson, who spent a decade building up the property credentials of Stronachs, is a former pupil of Mintlaw Academy who studied law at Dundee University. She added: “At first it will mainly be property-related work we are doing, but we have big plans to offer a full suite of client services.”
Since its launch in September, Moray Group has acquired Simpson & Marwick, which is being rolled out across Scotland. It also acquired volume conveyancing and debt recovery specialist Alston Law in Glasgow.