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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Scotland > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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At Brodies LLP, 'overall performance is excellent, delivery is accurate and on time, and you get good value for expenditure'. Gill Summers, who has specialised in corporate and commercial law for more than 20 years, is among the highly regarded individuals in the team, which is 'friendly, helpful and just incredible'. Douglas Crawford has spearheaded the growth of the private equity side of the practice since his arrival from CMS in 2016; clients in this space include management teams, buyers, sellers and funding institutions. Crawford is also active in the UK M&A market. Tom Boulton-Jones handles corporate transactions across a number of sectors, such as food and drink, technology, and manufacturing and engineering. Clare Munro, Greg May and Sonia Love focus on matters connected with the oil and gas sector. Shuna Stirling leads the team, which also includes associates Shona Tennant and Gemma Hills, and also senior solicitor Hamish Blair. The firm attracts a significant number of large-scale transactions; Crawford led a multidisciplinary team in the advice to the shareholders of Craig Group Limited on the sale of North Star to Basalt Infrastructure Partners through Basalt's vehicle Ardmair Bay Holdings Limited; this was one of the biggest M&A deals in Scotland in 2017. Crawford was also the lead adviser to the shareholders of John Lawrie (Aberdeen) Limited on the sale and MBO of the company to Thunderbird Bidco Limited (an acquisition vehicle backed by Rubicon Partners and Grovepoint). Other clients include Drum Property Group, Tulloch Homes Group and Cooke Aquaculture.

Burness Paull LLP has a strong pipeline of corporate and commercial work, owing to its first-rate reputation in the oil and gas sector, the growth of its private equity practice and healthy flow of instructions from owner-managed businesses. The firm is particularly active in cross-border transactions; Aberdeen team head Jamie Stark, who has made a name for himself in the oil and gas services sector, heads up the firm's Norway desk and regularly undertakes transactions involving multiple jurisdictions. Stark and director Gary Chapman advised the shareholders of Rubislaw Investments (the ultimate parent company of Peak Well Systems) on the acquisition by Peak Well Systems of Xtreme Innovations, and also the related sale of the combined entity to Schlumberger. In addition, Stark and director Arran Mackenzie acted for the shareholders of ACE Winches in a £10m equity investment by oil and gas services company The Balmoral Group, and also in a related refinancing. In another oil and gas deal, Alasdair Freeman and others advised Sterling Resources Limited on the $163m sale of subsidiary company Sterling Resources (UK) Limited (and all of its business and assets) to Dutch exploration and production company Oranje-Nassau Energie. Helen Dickson, who undertakes both corporate and banking work, 'always looks at how to provide the best legal protections, whilst balancing this with being commercial'.

CMS' team 'understands the importance of balancing legal advice alongside the potential commercial implications'. It is 'a leader in the field', as reflected by its high-end deal experience in sectors such as energy, financial services, TMT, healthcare, leisure and corporate real estate. The firm's global reach makes it a strong choice for cross-border transactions; in 2017, Frank Fowlie led a team, which included Norman Wisely and Sian Aitken, in the advice to FTI on the administration and sale of Iona Energy Company (UK) Limited to Decipher Energy Limited. Fowlie also led a cross-practice team, which acted for Broadview Energy in its acquisition of three wind farm companies: Windline (Peattie) Limited, Criggie Renewables Limited and Maryland Renewables Limited. Helen Machin assisted US-based film company Critical Content with acquiring UK production company Renowned Films. Judith Aldersey-Williams assists clients in the oil and gas sector with commercial issues, such as licensing, procurement and commercial contracts matters. Lorna Dawson also has oil and gas contracting experience, while Graeme Clubley is recommended for his oil and gas M&A expertise. Niall Polson joined KCA Deutag as senior corporate counsel.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a particularly strong offering in the oil and gas sector, where its team acts for clients such as Zennor Petroleum, KCA Deutag, Superior Energy Group and DNO Norge. The firm’s international reach puts it on a strong footing to assist clients with all aspects of their most significant cross-border matters. In 2017, David McEwing, senior associate David Millar and others advised Delta Energy Limited on a $10m investment into the company by Alchemy Partners, and also the rolling-up of the existing shareholders into a new holding company. Martin Ewan led the advice to Baker Hughes on its acquisition of innovative technology provider Caledyne Limited. Another matter involved acting for Rift Oil (a Repsol group company) in the corporate reorganisation of part of part of Repsol’s UK group. Legal director Jonathan Kirkwood is another name to note in the team, which saw Roger Connon step down as a partner to become head of oil and gas at the firm’s legal resourcing business Vario.

Blackwood Partners LLP has a particularly strong track record in domestic and cross-border corporate and private equity deals in the oil and gas services sector. Its outstanding reputation in the Aberdeen marketplace sees the firm win work from clients such as management teams, oil and gas services companies, venture capital providers and private equity houses, among others. In 2017, team head (and firm managing partner) Alastair Wyper and solicitor Ross Fair acted as the lead advisers to Houston-based private equity firm SCF Capital Partners and SCF-backed oil and gas services company Centurion Group in a multijurisdictional merger with three other SCF portfolio companies. In another cross-border deal, Judith Quinn and Fair advised Ashtead Technology on its acquisition of United Arab Emirates-based entity TES Survey Equipment Services. Another highlight saw Wyper, Fair and consultant Ken Gordon (a recent hire from Burness Paull LLP) assist Balmoral Group with its £10m investment in ACE Winches. Although oil and gas sector corporate and commercial work is the mainstay of the practice, the firm also handles a number of non-oil and gas matters; Wyper advised Aberdeen-based catering company Entier on an investment into the business by Business Growth Fund.

Stronachs LLP¬†‚Äėconsistently displays professionalism in all that it offers‚Äė. It¬†is well-known for its work advising clients in the oil and gas sector (both on the upstream and supply chain),¬†with a particular strength in acting for owner-managed businesses and management teams. Neil Forbes¬†leads the team, which complements oil and gas deal experience with expertise in other sectors, such as transport and logistics, technology and food and drink. In 2017, David Rennie¬†and others advised Evolve Group (UK) Limited on a group restructuring. Ross Gardner¬†led a team in the advice to oilfield equipment supplier Omega Completion Technology in the disposal of its completion tools product portfolio to National Oilwell Varco. Malcolm Donald¬†acts for clients such as Azinor Catalyst, Dana Petroleum and JD Neuhaus.¬†Inverness-based Ross Linn¬†made partner.

Aberdein Considine‚Äės team is praised by clients for having ‚Äėa good understanding of the needs of in-house solicitors‚Äė. A hallmark of its practice is its partner-led approach to service delivery. Ritchie Whyte¬†has ‚Äėgreat commercial awareness‚Äė and is ‚Äėresponsive and accommodating in terms of how he presents his advice‚Äė. Whyte is based in Aberdeen, as is team head Jacqueline Law. Anthony Quin¬†is a key figure in Stirling.¬†Although the firm is particularly well-known for acting for SMEs and investors in the energy and marine service sector, it has become increasingly involved in deals connected with the healthcare and food and drink industries, among others. Whyte recently advised Langstane Liquor Company on growth capital investments by a syndicate of Enterprise Investment Scheme investors and also by South Africa-based Southern Cross Beverages. Law acted for Investing Women Angels in its subscription of unsecured convertible loan notes in pharma business TC Biopharm. Dry Ice Scotland, Yardbury Group and NorSea Group are among other active clients.

Blackadders LLP‚Äės practice head¬†Campbell Clark¬†is ‚Äėan invaluable asset‚Äė, according to clients; he is ‚Äėquick to respond to requests and is very knowledgeable‚Äė. Clark splits his practice between the Aberdeen and Dundee offices, while Kirk Dailly¬†and Susan McFadyen¬†are based full-time in the latter office. The team covers a broad spread of matters including acquisitions and disposals, investment rounds, joint ventures, MBOs and commercial contracts, among others. In addition, Clark has been at the forefront of the firm‚Äôs advice to clients on the fast-growing area of employee ownership transactions. McFadyen has developed a reputation for her knowledge about timeshare and vacation ownership matters; RCI Europe is a key client in this space. Other sectors that generate work for the firm include healthcare, food and drink, and education. Dailly acted for WooHa Brewing Company in an investment made by a number of investors into the business to finance its expansion. The firm‚Äôs other active clients include 4J Studios, The Insights Group and Vascular Flow Technologies.

Dentons¬†merged with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in October 2017; in the oil and gas sector, the combined entity‚Äôs practice benefits from the synergies between¬†Dentons‚Äė pre-existing¬†offering to operators/licence holders and the latter firm‚Äôs historical strengths in acting for supply chain clients. Gordon Hobkirk¬†leads the team in Aberdeen, which also has a strong client following in food and drink, financial services, retail and renewable energy.¬† In 2017, Hobkirk and associate Nicola Rae¬†acted for three special purpose vehicles (SPVs) set up by Muirden Energy in the disposal of the business and assets of the SPVs to a third party purchaser. Motion Software Limited, Hutcheson Services Limited and Grieg Seafood Shetland Limited are among a number of recent client wins. Bill Fowler¬†divides time between Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Harper Macleod LLP‚Äės commitment to the North of Scotland market is reflected by the fact that it has a dedicated corporate and commercial offering, which is spread between its offices in Inverness, Lerwick and Thurso. The firm generates work from clients from a broad cross-section of industries, including food and drink, energy, tourism, manufacturing and technology.¬† Its presence in Lerwick alone has enabled it to gain a foothold into the local marine and aquaculture market. Work for family and owner-managed businesses is a particular area of strength;¬†Chris Kerr¬†undertakes the full range of general corporate and commercial matters for these clients, and is also particularly knowledgeable about the Scottish employee ownership market. In 2017, Kerr worked with Craig McKerracher¬†and others to¬†assist Maclain Limited and the Maclain family with the sale of Uist Asco to Acadian Seaplants. Another cornerstone of the practice is work for early-stage and high-growth companies; the firm serves as the exclusive legal provider in Scotland to Scottish EDGE and Entrepreneurial Spark. Jill Fryer¬†(whose expertise spans commercial contracts, competition law and public procurement) and¬†Lesley Wisely¬†are names to note at associate level.

Peter Murray leads Ledingham Chalmers LLP's practice, which has previously tended to stand out for its work in the oil and gas services sector. The firm recently expanded its offering, however, by launching a new exploration and production practice; this was heralded in January 2018 by the hires of Uisdean Vass and Laura Petrie from Womble Bond Dickinson. Further reflective of the growth of the corporate practice, Natalie Stevenson recently joined as a senior associate from CMS. Elsewhere, in addition to handling corporate and commercial matters connected with oil and gas, the firm’s workload is rounded out by mandates involving sectors such as renewable energy, property, care and leisure. Jody Mitchell, Rod Hutchison and Neil Anderson are other highly regarded practitioners in the group. Malcolm Laing serves as a consultant. Clients in this space include Total E&P UK Limited, Tendeka, Interwell, Arjo Wiggins Fine Papers and University of the Highlands and Islands.

Shepherd and Wedderburn‚Äės Aberdeen-led practice has gained momentum since the firm acquired The Commercial Law Partnership in January 2017. With practice head John Rutherford¬†at the helm, the firm has won new work across all the key sectors of the north east economy, including food and drink,¬† financial services, renewable energy, technology and rural business. Rutherford has more than 35 years of experience acting for clients in the oil and gas service sector; his workload in this space covers investments and disposals (acting for private equity investors and management teams), and corporate structuring, among other matters. The team also includes Keir Willox, whose expertise includes company formations, joint venture agreements, MBOs/MBIs and commercial contracts.

Thorntons Law LLP¬†fields a 14-strong corporate team, of which four members are partners seasoned with corporate transactional experience;¬†Michael Royden, Chris Allan, Alistair Lang¬†and Chris Byrne¬†(who became a partner in 2017) are names to note. Royden leads the group, which is spread across offices in Dundee, Perth and St Andrews. According to the firm‚Äôs clients, ‚Äėit¬†offers a more personal approach than many others‚Äė. The team acts for an impressive spread of clients, which includes global oil and gas companies with operations in Aberdeen, London-based high-growth companies and universities located in the North of Scotland. A particular sweet spot of the practice is in the healthcare sector, where the team handles corporate matters involving veterinary practices and GP practices, pharmacies and dental practices. Elsewhere, the firm demonstrates strong capabilities acting for golf sector clients ‚Äď where names include St Andrews Link Trust and Carnoustie Golf Links ‚Äď and companies in the computer games sector. In 2017, Royden acted for Walter Davidson & Sons (one of the largest independent pharmacy groups in Scotland) in its acquisition of Garelochhead Pharmacy. Lang and others assisted Intelligent Growth Solutions with a ¬£3m series C Enterprise Investment Scheme equity fundraise. Robbie Francis¬†is a highly regarded associate.

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