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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 > Finance > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLPparticularly excels in matters that are not straightforward or plain vanilla’. Equally strong in acting for lenders and borrowers, the firm advises on lending transactions involving infrastructure finance, real estate finance, asset and receivables finance, corporate (including acquisition) finance and marine finance. Michael Stoneham and associate Billy Kay handled the financing aspects of the bid by Liberty House Group/SIMEC Energy to acquire Lochaber hydro plant and Smelter Works and the Kinlochleven hydro plant (and associated estate lands) from British Alcan Aluminium. Chris Dun, a notable hire from Maclay Murray & Spens LLP, has bolstered the real estate finance and housing finance practice. Securitisations are another core area of expertise in the team, which is led by the ‘genuinely solution-drivenBruce Stephen. Fund-related financing transactions are a major growth area of the practice; Peter Kelly, Alan Knowles (who is ‘always calm and good-humoured’) and Marion MacInnes are knowledgeable about the practice area. Neal Richardson leads the banking and finance practice in Aberdeen. Associates Pamela Atkinson, Kirsty McBirnie and Fiona Cameron are recommended.

Burness Paull LLP’s ‘strong industry expertise’ and ‘knowledge of the banking environment’ make it a strong choice for financing transactions in sectors such as oil and gas, renewable energy and real estate. Jonathan Heaney, Gaenor Cassell, Aberdeen-based John Kennedy and senior associate Allan Leal have a wealth of experience in leveraged finance. Elsewhere, another area of strength is in advising on borrower-side debt finance connected with Scottish limited partnership fund structures. The group also assists with the Scottish law aspects of securitisations and structured finance, and also handles loan portfolio transactions. In 2016, Cassell, senior solicitor Mark Graham and others acted for Kings Park Capital in the financing aspects of its investment in Just Go! Holidays. Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays Bank, Tuscola Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland are other key clients. Leal relocated to Glasgow to reinforce the West of Scotland banking practice, following Scott Wilson’s retirement. Alan Soppitt leads the team, which recently hired senior associate Sophie Coffey from Harper Macleod LLP.

CMS’ has an outstanding reputation in leading on the most complex transactions for borrowers and lenders. An Aberdeen-based team including Fiona Henderson and Tabasam Faqir worked alongside Dawn Reoch, who is regarded by clients as ‘one of the best banking lawyers in Scotland’, to assist Coherent with the Scottish and English financing aspects of its $942m acquisition of ROFIN-SINAR Technologies and its subsidiaries. In another highlight, Stephen Phillips was the lead adviser to Ethos Energy on the £40m refinancing of its debt with a club of four banks. On the lender side, Caryn Penley and others acted for Barclays Bank in making available a facility to enable Lorimer Care Homes to restructure its debt, and then acquire Gate Healthcare. Santander, Lloyds Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland are other notable clients. Alan Fulton covers a variety of matters, including leveraged and acquisition finance transactions, as well as real estate and asset finance deals. Gordon Hay is knowledgeable about financing of renewable energy or oil and gas matters. Other recommended figures are real estate finance expert Darren Craig and recently promoted partner Jenny Allan.

Although Dickson Minto WS is particularly well known for acting for borrowers – including some of Scotland’s largest companies – and also attracts a strong flow of work from lenders; one recent highlight involved acting for Bank of Scotland in the provision of debt facilities to Stewart Milne Group. Other recent work includes advising Northwood Investors on the debt financing obtained by its NW3 investment vehicle from Wells Fargo. The firm has three specialist banking partners based in Edinburgh: Colin McHale, Allan Fraser and Alasdair Proudfoot.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP has ‘a good depth of knowledge and talent across a variety of products, including leveraged finance, energy-related finance and real estate finance’. Other areas of strength include financing relating to oil and gas, funds and investment trusts, and general corporate debt. In 2016, Susan Kelly and director James Wilson acted as the lead counsel to The Edrington Group and The 1887 Group in the combined £530m refinancing of their syndicated facilities. In another highlight, the ‘approachable and commercialStuart Fitzsimmons and senior solicitor Anna Crosby acted as the lead UK counsel to Norwegian defence and maritime company Kongsberg Gruppen ASA in its entry into a $290m facility with a lending syndicate to fund its investment into state-owned Finnish defence company Patria Oyj; Fitzsimmons and Crosby ‘take a pragmatic approach in negotiations with other firms’. Reflecting the strength of the practice, the firm was recently reappointed to the panels of Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays Bank. Other clients include Dalmore Capital, Santander UK Plc and the Royal Bank of Canada. Director Ainsley Reid is experienced in corporate refinancing, as well as real estate investment and development finance. Associates Johanne Lewin and Mark Meiklejohn are highly regarded. Chris Dun moved to Brodies LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team has ‘a brilliant commercial understanding of the overall transaction and what is and isn’t important’, which is reflected by its record acting for a mix of borrowers, lenders, private equity houses and opportunity funds, among other clients. The Scotland-based practice leverages the firm’s pan-UK and international reach, advising on complex finance transactions involving sectors such as infrastructure, oil and gas, and renewables. In addition, it excels in more specialised matters, such as loan purchases and sales, derivatives and asset-based lending. The group also has a strong debt capital markets capability, where it acts for bond issuers and lead managers in bond financings. In 2016, highlights included Gillian Frew and senior associate Graham Young acted for the Bank of Ireland in the refinancing of the N17/N18 Gort to Tuam Irish road PPP scheme. Aberdeen-based Richard Scott advised HSBC on the financing aspects of Buckthorn Partners’ acquisition of Ashtead Technology. John Maciver heads the team, which includes project finance specialist Michael Watson, oil and gas finance expert Iain Macaulay, Alan Cassels and Stacey Bairner.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s ‘flexible and client-focused’ group ‘really knows its stuff’ in infrastructure finance, property finance, asset finance and receivables finance. The diverse practice also covers debt restructurings, fund finance, debt capital markets financings and loan portfolio transactions, addressing the needs of a broad client base, which includes corporate borrowers, commercial and investment banks, and investment funds. Fiona Buchanan’s team includes Andrew Kinnes and Hamish Patrick, who have a first-rate reputation in securitisations, and Clare Foster and Patrick Bell, who have vast experience of project finance transactions. Bell and Paul Hally led separate teams which acted for Bank of Scotland and HM Treasury respectively in the £86m financing to Countesswells Development Limited (a subsidiary of Stewart Milne Group) of an infrastructure and housing project on the outskirts of Aberdeen. Another highlight for the firm involved acting as Scottish law counsel to HSBC as arranger of Greene King Finance’s £340m issuance of commercial mortgage-backed notes. Consultant Graham Burnside is a renowned Islamic finance expert. Roderick MacLeod, Iain Wishart, Peter Alderdice and Neil Cowan are also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddardalways delivers’ for its clients, which include banks, borrowers and non-bank funders. The team undertakes a broad spectrum of financing deals connected with sectors such as oil and gas, shipping, real estate and renewable energy. In addition to advising on general corporate lending, other areas of expertise include acquisition finance, project finance and asset-based lending. Alan Shanks leads the practice, which includes Euan Cluness and senior solicitor Euan Anderson, both of whom assisted Bank of Scotland with financing Sterling Furniture Group’s acquisition of Forrest Furnishings. Cluness is ‘efficient, knowledgeable and extremely capable’. Alex Innes, who is dual-qualified to practise Scottish and English law, worked with Anderson to advise Route Finance on providing alternative funding to a borrower for the purpose of developing student accommodation. Tom Speirs, Catriona Smith and associate Peter Smartt are other notable practitioners. John Blackwood joined Bermuda-based firm Wakefield Quin.

Noted for its global platform, DLA Piper Scotland LLP advises UK and international banks and corporate borrowers, among other clients, covering a wide remit of matters. Stuart McMillan leads the team, which has strong project finance credentials and robust experience across other areas of lending and borrowing. Legal director Michael Urquhart, who is qualified to practise in Scotland, England and Wales, is particularly experienced in acting for sponsors and funders in the renewable energy sector. McMillan and Urquhart acted for Green Africa Power in the €20m financing of the development of a 20MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Senegal. In another highlight, David Morton and senior associate William Reid assisted Motel One with obtaining development finance from Royal Bank of Scotland for a hotel in Glasgow. Morton, who has ‘been there and seen it all before’, is ‘very calm under pressure’.

DWF has a strong UK profile and expanding international presence with a body of mandates from domestic and offshore banks and borrowers, including fund clients. Corporate and real estate financing transactions are core strengths along with the financing aspects of renewable energy schemes. Work also arises from other industries, including hotels and leisure, healthcare and social housing. Practice head Grant Docherty, who has more than 25 years’ experience acting for borrowers and lenders, advised Santander UK Plc on the circa £11.5m refinancing of a group of nine Guernsey-based special purpose vehicles that have invested in commercial and residential properties throughout England. Docherty also assisted Bladnoch Distillery with negotiating a £2.5m asset finance facility from Lombard North Central. Geoff Stansfield, who leads the real estate finance side of the practice, and senior associate Alan Glen are other key contacts in the team, whose clients include Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Close Property Finance. Chris McLauchlan joined Eversheds Sutherland.

Harper Macleod LLP’s first-rate reputation is underscored by the volume of banking work which it undertakes for institutions such as Clydesdale Bank, HSBC and Bank of Scotland – indeed, the firm was recently appointed to the Bank of Scotland’s Business Support Unit panel. The practice also has a notable following of borrower clients from a wide range of industries, including housing and renewable energy; there has recently been a particularly significant uptick in maritime, food and drink (particularly whisky), pensions and healthcare. The team, which is led by Tony Cameron and Jacqui Fraser, is ‘professional and forward-thinking in its approach, with a focus on the needs of the client’. Inverness-based Ross Thomson has expertise in real estate finance, as does John Meehan in Glasgow. Edinburgh-based Euan Mitchell is a go-to lawyer for project finance advice.

MacRoberts LLP has core strengths in corporate banking, real estate finance, project finance and loans sales. The practice has experience in multi-jurisdictional matters, as well as Scotland-only transactions. The Scottish government is a key client of the practice and, on the lender side, the team serves all the major UK banks which are active in the Scottish market, including HSBC, Barclays Bank and Santander. Among borrower mandates, in 2016 practice head Norman Martin led the advice to various US institutional investors (as noteholders) on the Scottish aspects of the refinancing of The 1887 Company Limited and, in another matter, assisted The Scottish Salmon Company with negotiating refinancing with Bank of Scotland. Martin, John Crawford, Roddy MacLennan and Fiona Armour combine strong experience and ‘a can-do attitude’.

Morton Fraser acts for all the main UK clearing banks, as well as UK-based asset finance providers, international banks and hedge funds. Beverley Wood and Bruce Wood focus on asset finance and invoice finance, a particular area of strength of the practice. Elsewhere, team head Andrew Meakin and Lauren Hart specialise in various types of debt transactions, including real estate finance, distressed debt portfolio transactions and corporate debt. John Lunn is an expert in retail finance and regulated consumer transactions. Senior associate Paul Kenneth is recommended for advice on property finance matters. Recent highlights for the practice include playing a key role in Allied Irish Bank’s €800m sale of its Project Forge loan portfolio, and acting for Royal Bank of Scotland in refinancing the businesses of Edinburgh-based Gold Brothers. Associate Alice Mahoney joined from an in-house position at BMCE Bank International, bolstering the firm’s asset finance and debt finance offering.

Blackwood Partners LLP has an outstanding reputation in undertaking acquisition finance transactions in the oil and gas services sector. Although the practice is weighted towards sponsor-led transactions, it also generates a significant amount of work from lender clients. Practice head Scott Swankie has substantial experience in general corporate banking, property finance, aviation finance and shipping finance, among other areas. Recent highlights include acting for Scottish Loan Fund in the provision of mezzanine facilities to READ Cased Hole Limited and, in a separate matter, to Highland Network Limited. Swankie also assisted Bank of Scotland, DNB Bank and HSBC Bank in the financing of EnerMech Group.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s presence in the North East of Scotland, allied to its extensive knowledge of the maritime and oil and gas services markets, sees it act for some of the most active lenders in secured and unsecured financing or refinancing transactions. In addition, the firm covers a wide range of general banking matters for corporate borrowers. In Inverness, the team is active in assisting economic development agencies, such as Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with providing financing to private sector businesses. Jody Mitchell was the lead adviser to Grampian Property Group on the provision of financing by Royal Bank of Scotland for property development. Another highlight involved acting for Solstad Offshore UK on the UK-wide aspects of a group refinancing. Aberdeen-based Mitchell and Inverness-based Fiona Neilson head the practice.

Lindsays has a particularly strong offering in the real estate sector, where it acts for borrowers and lenders in investment and development financing transactions, and portfolio refinances, among other matters. The practice was bolstered in 2016 by the additions of Gavin Buchan and Stuart Rowson from Maclay Murray & Spens LLP and Shepherd and Wedderburn respectively. Buchan heads the practice. Other strengths include finance work related to industries such as renewable energy and agriculture, as well as healthcare, angel investment and technology, and charities. A growing area of activity for the practice is in the peer-to-peer bridging finance space, with one highlight involving acting for Glenisla Developments as the borrower in funding provided by The Route – Finance to facilitate the client’s acquisition of a development site in Alyth, Perthshire. Kenneth Gray and David Lindgren are other notable practitioners.

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