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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 > Human resources > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Employment
  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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The β€˜excellent and professional team’ at Brodies LLP handles the full spectrum of employment law, from transactions and restructuring-related issues to discrimination claims and trade union matters. It also has an extensive track record representing clients in employment tribunal proceedings. Clients single out the β€˜very calm’ Paul McMahon in Glasgow, who β€˜inspires confidence’ and is noted for his focus on the third sector as well as the finance, education, manufacturing and oil and gas industries. He advised River Clyde Homes – one of the largest housing associations in Scotland – on the employment law aspects of a major restructuring, which involved advising on redundancies, changes to contractual terms and industrial relations issues. In another highlight, McMahon advised Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH) on a range of employment law issues, including discrimination, unfair dismissal and collective redundancy consultations, as well as advising the same client on employment contracts including atypical contractual models such as zero hours contracts. Other clients include the University of Edinburgh and RBS. Tony Hadden heads the team from Edinburgh. Other key figures in Glasgow include the well-regarded Joan Cradden and legal director Brian Campbell, who is β€˜particularly impressive through his subject matter knowledge and his ability to explain complex points in a simple manner’.

The β€˜very good, responsive and practical’ team at Burness Paull LLP has a strong profile advising national and international oil and gas, food and drink, sport, media and retail sector clients on redundancies, restructurings and industrial action matters. Aberdeen-based practice head Sean Saluja advised energy services company Wood Group on collective and individual employment law aspects pertaining to an industrial action taken by 300 offshore workers as a consequence of changes in the terms and conditions of employment. This included advice on potential interdict and injunction proceedings. In a food and drink sector highlight, the β€˜knowledgable and efficient’ David Morgan (who is based in Glasgow and β€˜is great at guiding clients through a crisis’) advised Brown-Forman on the employment law aspects of the company’s Β£285m acquisition of three Scotch whisky distilleries and brands: BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and GlenDronach. β€˜Excellent litigator’ Ronald Mackay and β€˜very responsive and pragmatic’ director Mel Sangster advised General Electric on a range of employment law issues throughout the UK, including TUPE transfers, disciplinary cases, and holiday pay and unfair dismissal claims.

The β€˜strong and very responsive’ team at Pinsent Masons LLP attracts praise for its β€˜practical advice’ and ability to cover the gamut of employment law, from working time and equal pay matters to industrial relations, team moves and immigration issues. Its client roster includes names from key sectors such as infrastructure, financial services, oil and gas, manufacturing and technology. The β€˜deeply knowledgeable and accurate’ Stuart Neilson advised Balfour Beatty on holiday pay issues. Aberdeen partner Katie Williams assisted a number of energy sector clients with employment contract and cross-border employment issues; she also handles whistleblowing matters and litigation. The well-regarded Diane Nicol, who β€˜knows how to successfully resolve difficult and tricky issues’, regularly acts for senior management teams on industrial relation disputes, site moves and closures, while β€˜excellent negotiator’ Euan Smith is well versed in advising blue-chip companies and public sector organisations. He assisted a large multinational company with industrial action matters. Glasgow-based senior associate Gillian Ross is β€˜pragmatic and very reassuring’.

Anderson Strathern’s practice has a particularly strong profile advising public and education sector clients, although commercial clients, trade unions and senior executives also instruct the team on contentious and non-contentious matters, including disciplinary proceedings. Barry Nichol defended the University of Stirling against a protective award complaint brought by the University and College Union pertaining to fixed term contract employees, whose contracts were not renewed. Andrew Brown assisted the Scottish Ambulance Service with on-call working and travel time issues for paramedics and technicians in remote and rural areas in Scotland, including handling several employment tribunal proceedings. Brown, Chris McDowall and Paul Brown advised five further education colleges on industrial action matters. Alun Thomas heads the team. Special counsel Rhona Wark moved to BTO Solicitors LLP.

CMS β€˜provides clear and business-oriented advice’ on contractual employment matters, restructuring projects and remuneration arrangements, with a sweet spot in the energy, financial services and higher education sectors. As a highlight for the latter, Edinburgh partner Finlay McKay advised Oriam - the new national sports centre in Edinburgh - on trade union matters, including the drafting of a recognition agreement to determine recognition and representation of UNISON within Oriam. Financial services highlights included advising Standard Life on employment law aspects of the investment company’s acquisition of Elevate from AXA. In Aberdeen, the β€˜very knowledgable’ Alison Woods (who heads the human capital group) advised energy company SSE on Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulation issues with regards to the future closure of Lerwick power station. On the contentious side, the team is experienced in industrial disputes and discrimination claims. McKay defended Stirling Council in an equal pay claim raised by the council’s social work department employees. The β€˜very responsive, pragmatic and hardworking’ Gillian MacLellan is also recommended. Robert Davies joined London-based employment boutique Walbrook Law LLP.

Handling employment tribunal claims is a central pillar of Clyde & Co LLP’s practice. The team, led by Sandy Kemp, frequently defends public and private sector employers in holiday pay and equal pay litigation. The well-regarded Stephen Miller advised Glasgow City Council on equal pay claims brought by GMB, Unison and Unite. The team often deals with disability discrimination and mental health issues and is well versed in defending claims brought by employees. Ian Truscott is also recommended. David Hughes moved to Addleshaw Goddard while Chris Phillips joined Loch Employment Law.

Morton Fraser β€˜empowers its clients to make the right decisions’. The β€˜extremely responsive and professional’ team acts for employers and employees alike and is particularly known for advising public sector clients, SMEs and senior executives. Much of the team’s work – contentious and non-contentious – pertains to discrimination, equal pay, TUPE, holiday pay and bullying matters. The β€˜very quick and accurate’ Lindsey Cartwright advised Barony Universal on the integration of two workforces into one site, following the client’s merger with Sanmex International. This included advice on possible TUPE implications, collective redundancy issues, mobility clauses, transitional arrangements and terms and conditions of employment. The β€˜highly knowledgable, experienced and efficient’ Innes Clark heads the team, which includes the β€˜reliable and confidence-inspiring’ David Hossack, who is well versed in advising insolvency practitioners on employment issues pertaining to restructurings and administrations and β€˜is able to give sound advice at short notice’. The β€˜very experienced and professional’ David Walker is also recommended, as is β€˜exceptional’ senior associate Lorna Davis, who is β€˜a pleasure to work with’.

Acting for employers and employees alike, BTO Solicitors LLP is β€˜a very good choice for medium-sized companies’ and β€˜provides excellent service, from general advice to tribunal representation’. The team handles whistleblowing, discrimination and TUPE matters and often acts for public sector clients as well as colleges, private schools and senior executives. The β€˜very organised and knowledgeable’ Laura Salmond, who β€˜approaches conflicts with a calm demeanour and incisive wit’, advised more than 3,000 members of the Prison Officers’ Association Scotland on a wide range of employment matters, including discrimination, capability, misconduct and data protection issues. Practice head Caroline Carr is best known for her expertise in the clinical defence arena and frequently advises doctors, consultants and dentists on employment and disciplinary issues. Her recent highlights include advising a doctor on investigation proceedings. In another highlight, the team advised a Scottish group of companies on TUPE transfer matters. The β€˜very responsive’ David Hoey is also recommended, as is consultant Rhona Wark, who joined from Anderson Strathern.

Geographically focused on the Highland and Islands area, the β€˜professional and friendly’ team at Ledingham Chalmers LLP is experienced in advising businesses - particularly SMEs - and public sector bodies on disciplinary investigations, as well as discrimination and TUPE matters while also having considerable clout in representing clients in employment tribunal cases. The team acts for a range of sectors, including manufacturing and construction, energy, food and drink, life sciences and the third sector. The β€˜reliable and discreet’ Kirk Tudhope (who attracts praise for his β€˜calm, client-focused approach’) acted alongside senior associate Veli-Matti Raikkonen for Sand Monitoring Services in an unfair dismissal claim. The team also acted for a local authority in judicial review proceedings in the Court of Session following the dismissal of an employee. Stuart Robertson joined Gilson Gray.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP β€˜presents facts in an easily understood way’ and β€˜is excellent in setting out possible courses of action and assessing their relative risks’. The β€˜responsive’ team has significant expertise advising clients from the food and drink, financial services and oil and gas sectors while also assisting trade unions and public sector players with a wide range of employment law matters. This includes advising on regulatory, TUPE transfer, redundancy and discrimination issues. The β€˜professional and discrete’ Mark Hamilton advised a global provider of knowledge-based asset integrity services on redundancy payment and TUPE transfer matters. He also assisted a UK-wide firm with minimum wage legislation issues and its self-disclosure to HMRC. Practice head and litigator Amanda Jones β€˜ensures clients are aware of all potential risks’ and continues to advise the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) – Scotland’s largest education trade union – on internal employment law matters. Recently, the team assisted several of its members with employment tribunal claims, exit negotiations, and discrimination, whistleblowing, working time and pay-related disputes. Glasgow-based director Alison Weatherhead is noted for her β€˜direct, no-nonsense approach’.

Known for its employment tribunal expertise, MacRoberts LLP β€˜provides clear and concise advice’ and is particularly active in defending public sector employers as well as acting for multinational companies, SMEs and senior executives. Legal director Michelle Sutherland advised South Lanarkshire Council on employment tribunal claims brought by a number of temporary teachers for unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and breach of fixed term workers regulations and breach of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) collective agreement. In a separate matter, Sutherland and managing partner John Macmillan advised North Ayrshire Council, Orkney Islands Council and Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar on the implementation of a single status under the Red Book collective agreement, and on multiple equal pay claims brought before the employment tribunal by several local authority employees. On the non-contentious side, the team, led by the β€˜very professional’ Katy Wedderburn frequently handles redundancy and TUPE work. Deborah Miller is praised as having β€˜very good interpersonal skills’ and as β€˜being able to quickly digest the root of the problem’. Karen McGill retired.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s client roster includes large corporations and university sector clients, which the team regularly advises on international employment matters, TUPE issues, senior executive exits and termination remuneration. The team also handles employment tribunal work and corporate employment support. β€˜Good’ practice head Neil Maclean advised the University of Edinburgh on a wide range of employment law matters, including trade union and immigration issues, fixed term contracts and holiday pay. β€˜Solid and effective litigator’ Katie Russell β€˜inspires confidence’; she advised Scottish Enterprise on international employment arrangements, and assisted Vallourec Oil & Gas with collective redundancy issues prompted by a production line closure and business downturn. In another highlight, Maclean advised Kyowa Kirin on the employment law aspects pertaining to the pharmaceutical company’s proposal to convert its Luxembourg registered subsidiary to a Societas Europaea, and on a subsequent transfer of its registered office to Scotland.

Addleshaw Goddard, which merged with HBJ Gateley in June 2017, fields a team in Scotland that β€˜deals with all enquires promptly, professionally and with a personal touch’. The team frequently advises on recruitment and exit issues, TUPE transfers, reorganisation and redundancy programmes while also dealing with employment tribunal matters, equal pay litigation and workplace mediation. As a highlight, the team acted for 5,000 claimants in a series of equal pay test cases against Glasgow City Council. In another contentious mandate, the team represented Menzies Aviation before the employment tribunal in a service provision change matter. β€˜Pragmatic and proactive’ team head Kim Pattullo, who is well versed in advising on restructuring and reorganisations as well as M&A, advised First Scottish on employment law aspects arising from the sale of The Legal Post and First Post to DX Network Services. David Hughes re-joined the firm from Clyde & Co LLP.

Primarily acting for employees, Balfour+Manson LLP attracts praise for β€˜dealing with difficult and very contentious claims’ at the intersection of employment, personal injury and regulatory law. The β€˜very experienced, efficient and forward-thinking’ team β€˜is not scared to push boundaries’ and β€˜makes clients feel at ease’ while β€˜providing speedy tailor-made advice’. It has a strong trade union and charities client base, for which it frequently handles unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. β€˜Very competent and friendly’ practice head Robert Holland β€˜is extremely strong in litigation and very experienced in conducting tribunals in the Civil Court’. He represented the director of a UK charity in an unfair dismissal claim before the employment tribunal. Other clients include the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). Associate Sarah Shiels is β€˜very experienced and skilled in employment litigation and particularly good when acting for the claimant’.

Harper Macleod LLP is experienced in handling business transfers and TUPE matters, as well as employment tribunal work, and frequently acts for local authorities and clients from the private, third and sport sectors. Lesley Murphy assisted the Highland Council with employment law and HR matters, including disability discrimination claims, TUPE matters and employee early release schemes. She also advised the UK arm of a multinational printing business on its remuneration and reward practices alongside its pay structure. Team head Bruce Caldow advised the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) on holiday pay issues. On the contentious side, Inverness-based associate Ewan Stafford represented Janis Dunn in an unfair dismissal claim against City of Edinburgh Council. Other clients include Cunninghame Housing Association, Cornerstone Community Care and Celtic Football Club. Dawn Robertson joined the team from Young & Partners LLP and provides β€˜sensible and practical advice’.

The β€˜professional’ team at Lindsays β€˜provides a very good service’ and regularly advises on employee misconduct, working time and redundancy pay matters, while also representing clients in discrimination and unfair dismissal claims. Practice head Ben Doherty, who β€˜provides practical advice’, assisted a large food and drink sector client with employee misconduct issues arising from the failure of two employees to disclose their criminal records in their applications. He also defended a multinational drug manufacturing company against a disability discrimination and unfair dismissal claim brought by an employee, and advised a number of charities on working time issues related to working patterns of employees who provide one-to-one care to service users. Kate Wyatt, who was elevated to the partnership, defended a bakery and confectionery business against a number of claims, including disability discrimination. John Lee has an extensive track record acting for multinationals; his recent highlights include defended a multinational oil and gas drilling business in an action brought in Aberdeen by a former employee who had expatriated to Angola and who was managed by the client’s HQ in Norway.

With a focus on Aberdeen and the North of Scotland, the β€˜good and helpful’ team at Stronachs LLP β€˜reacts quickly’ and handles a wide range of employment law matters β€˜in a competent and professional manner’. The team is well versed in TUPE transfer and redundancy issues, as demonstrated to the firm’s advice to haulage firm Grampian Continental on employment law aspects pertaining to the acquisition of a European road haulage business and the transfer of employees. On the contentious side, the team is experienced in unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims. In a reflection of its oil and gas sector expertise, the team advised Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants on terms and conditions of employment. The team, led by the β€˜very knowledgable and helpful’ Eric Gilligan, who β€˜always goes above and beyond for his clients’, also assisted A & F Grant with TUPE transfer issues. David Chalmers and Anya Duncan are other key members of the team.

The β€˜knowledgable, practical and client-focused’ team at Thorntons Law LLP has significant expertise in the education sector and advises its clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. Areas of expertise include employment contracts, collective redundancies, outsourcing and TUPE issues, as well as unfair dismissal claims. The β€˜solution-focused and personable’ Debbie Fellows represented Abertay University in an employment tribunal claim of unfair dismissal and race discrimination brought by a former academic. On the non-continuous side, Fellows advised the Glasgow Caledonian University on TUPE implications arising from the termination of the university’s outside catering contract. Practice head and β€˜safe pair of hands’ Noele McClelland advised the James Hutton Institute on changes to the terms and conditions of employment, leading to changes in the client’s defined benefit pension scheme. Other clients include the University of Stirling and Colleges Scotland.

The team at Blackadders LLP predominately acts for employers and is led by Simon Allison, who is particularly known for his employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal expertise. He frequently represents clients in unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing cases. Sandy Meiklejohn retired.

With a focus on cross-border work, DLA Piper Scotland LLP provides advice on contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including dismissals and TUPE issues alongside discrimination claims and disciplinary proceedings. β€˜Extremely knowledgable’ practice head Kate Hodgkiss continues to provide day-to-day advice to temporary power generation and temperature control equipment supplier Aggreko, which includes assistance with settlement arrangements for staff based nationally and seconded overseas, and employment contract issues. She also advised construction company BEAR Scotland on holiday pay issues, and the liquidators of ADTI on enhanced redundancy payment claims. In another highlight, the team assisted Exova’s UK HR department with TUPE, collective redundancy and immigration issues alongside senior level dismissals following a post-acquisition reorganisation.

The team at DWF β€˜provides advice and guidance of the highest standard’ and is led by β€˜solid practitioner’ Michael McLaughlin, who is known for his employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal expertise. He defended Amey in an employment tribunal claim brought by a former employee for unfair dismissal, sex and disability discrimination, and harassment. McLaughlin also defended Poseidon Systems in a dismissal claim. Other highlights included acting for Aberdeenshire Council on multiple pay claims, which included advisory work and employment tribunal representation, and advising Sterling Furniture on the employment aspects pertaining to the client’s acquisition of Forrest Furnishing. On the non-continuous side, McLaughlin regularly assists energy, IT and telecoms clients with TUPE aspects of service provision changes and outsourcing issues.

Davidson Chalmers LLP advises third sector organisations, SMEs and international companies on a broad range of employment law matters such as dismissals, temporary labour, holiday and equal pay, as well as assisting them with disciplinary investigations. β€˜Well-respected’ practice head Alan Strain advised a third sector organisation on its job evaluation scheme and its implementation, which included advice on job redesign and equal pay issues. In a separate matter, the team assisted a corporate client with a possible introduction of a career transition policy, which would give employees the opportunity to leave their employment in exchange for a payment. On the contentious side, the practice is well versed in dealing with unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract claims, while also acting for clients in disciplinary investigations. The team is acting for a third sector organisation to defend a number of collective underpaid holiday claims raised by existing and former employees.

Morisons LLP is singled out for its β€˜commercial and timely advice’ and substantial education sector expertise. Other clients include charities and technology and healthcare sector players, including Royston Stress Centre, Ichor Systems and M&D: Green Dispensing Chemists. The team frequently handles unfair dismissal and discrimination claims, as well as matters related to data protection, TUPE and terms and conditions of employment, and disciplinary proceedings. β€˜Very good and precise’ practice head Jacqueline McCluskey defended a business against age discrimination claims brought by a former employee, and advised an education sector client on data protection matters and on changes to its terms and conditions of employment.

Noted for its expertise in the social housing and charity sector, Shoosmiths frequently provides commercially-focused HR advice alongside employment support on corporate transactions, while also representing its clients in employment tribunal cases. The β€˜knowledgeable’ team β€˜explains complex issues well and always considers the potential commercial impact’. β€˜Professional’ practice head Karen Harvie assisted Leonardo Hotels Europe with employment and pension liabilities matters, and the negotiation of employment aspects as part of the client’s purchase of the Morrison Street Hotel in Edinburgh from Premier Inn. Housing association Fyne Homes regularly instructs the team to advice on general HR and employment law issues. On the contentious side, Harvie and β€˜extremely conscientious and responsive’ senior associate Kenny Scott represented a client in an appeal against their dismissal.

Turcan Connell is recognised for its expertise advising high-net-worth individuals, charities and rural sector clients. The team, led by the β€˜well-regarded’ David Ogilvy, assists clients with TUPE and employee relation matters while also handling contentious work. Ogilvy advised the disability organisation Capability Scotland on TUPE issues, and assisted Alzheimer Scotland with employee relations and working time matters. Other clients include the charity Maggie’s Centre and hotel management and consulting company Inverlochy Castle Management.

Weightmans LLP provides β€˜technically-sound and business-focused’ advice to blue-chip clients with a focus on TUPE and transactional matters alongside strategic advisory work. The team, led by Elaine McIlroy, also represents clients in employment tribunal proceedings, often defending the employer against discrimination claims raised by employees. McIlroy advised a company on a number of senior level exits, including discrimination issues, and defended another company against maternity discrimination claims which arose out of a redundancy.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Employment

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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