Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

United Kingdom > Scotland > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Anderson Strathern is singled out for its ‘very high degree of knowledge’. Work includes estate purchases, energy transactions and residential developments. Team head John Mitchell is advising Buccleuch Group on several voluntary registrations. Other clients include The Crown Estate.

Brodies LLP is ‘one of Scotland’s leading firms for agriculture and estates’. The practice advises a range of rural businesses on acquisitions and land use. Odell Milne advised Transport Scotland on the salmon fishing rights aspects of the A9 Dualing project. Newly promoted partner Murray Soutarpunches above his weight’.

Turcan Connell handles work relating to land developments, renewable schemes, sporting rights, voluntary registrations and sales of estates with eight-figure values. Practice head Jon Robertson’s expertise includes various energy projects. Don Macleod is now a partner.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP’s ‘conscientious and dependable’ team advises on matters such as complex farm sales and energy transactions. Robert Scott-Dempster heads the practice and has ‘a clear focus on what the client wants’. Fraser Leslie joined the firm from Bond Dickinson LLP.

Lindsays provides ‘clear advice that explains the legal ambiguities well’. Work includes crofting issues, high-value transactions and energy investments. Michael Yellowlees, who has expertise in heraldry and feudal titles, is ‘pragmatic, efficient and highly personable’. Andrew Linehan is also recommended.

Blackadders LLP advises on issues including wind turbine and anaerobic digestion projects, corporate structuring, and succession planning. Petra Grunenbergknows the sector very well’.

Davidson Chalmers LLP’s ‘positive and helpful’ practice advises on rural transactions and energy projects. The firm acts for RBS on secured loan transactions. Key names include the ‘professional and flexibleLaura Tainsh and practice head Andy Drane.

Never behind the cutting edge of the subject’, Harper Macleod LLP advises on land leases and sales for residential and energy developments, among other matters. Practice head Graeme Nisbet advises the Forestry Commission on voluntary registration of its land.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP has ‘a strong team of agriculturally knowledgeable solicitors’. Jim Drysdale leads the team, which advises on land sales, farming partnership disputes and structuring.

Morton Fraser provides ‘a good level of service and sound advice’ on issues including farm sales, rights of way and sporting rights. James Rust heads the department, which includes ‘extremely professional’ associate Gail Watt.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s workload includes acquisitions, succession planning, renewable developments and fish farming issues. Peter Misselbrook heads the practice, which acts for the Woodland Trust and Eskdalemuir Forestry.

Stronachs LLPkeeps clients up-to-date and aware of farming subsidy issues’, and handles a range of biomass energy generation, residential development and rights of way issues. Hamish Lean is ‘an all-round professional’.

Thorntons Law LLP advises on energy generation projects, agricultural succession planning, rights of way issues and complex land sales. Key names include the ‘determined and imaginative’ Linsey Barclay-Smith, and Kenneth Mackay, who leads the team.

Charities and not-for-profit

Brodies LLP provides ‘excellent’ advice on mergers and formations of charities and arms-length bodies. Clients include the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and The Co-operative Group, which Brenda Scott advised on distribution of revenues from the mandatory carrier bag charge to charities. Alan Eccles is also recommended.

Burness Paull advises on issues such as restructuring, joint ventures, commercial agreements and spinouts of public services. Stephen Phillips, who leads the practice, advised on the creation of the LAR Housing Trust. Other clients include the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

Turcan Connell advises charities on regulatory matters, construction projects, transfers of assets and restructurings. Simon Mackintosh heads the practice, which includes Gavin McEwan, who advised the Royal British Legion Scotland on a governance reorganisation.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP’s work for charities includes advice on social investment issues, restructurings and leadership changes. Practice head Tom Murray is advising the Mount Stuart Trust on land reform issues.

Lindsays is ‘a full-service firm with a recognised commitment to the charity sector’. Practice head Alastair Keatinge is noted for his ‘sensitive understanding of what charities do’. Work includes advice on employment, regulatory and property litigation matters.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s ‘outstanding’ practice advises on governance issues, relations with the public sector, and restructurings. David Dunsire is ‘first class’ and Malcolm Rustdisplays very good leadership of his team’.

Anderson Strathern provides ‘clear and positive’ advice on governance matters, public service spinouts and trust restructuring. John Kerr is ‘very supportive; he delivers on his promises’. Clients include The Royal Zoological Society for Scotland.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s ‘excellent and very professional’ team advises on charity constitutional matters, funding agreements and employment issues. Practice head Patrice Fabien advises Scottish Fire & Rescue Service Family Support.

Balfour+Manson LLP is noted for its ‘good commercial sense’. Practice head and consultant John Hodge assists charities with IP and structural matters, and associate Alan Gilfillan is experienced in dealing with Scotland’s charities regulator, the OSCR. Clients include Samaritans.

MacRoberts LLP is a source of ‘pertinent advice’ on issues including OSCR regulation, fundraising legislation and governance issues. Val Surgenor heads the practice, which includes Duncan Osler, who advises on public-social partnerships. Clients include Enable Scotland.

Morton Fraser is a source of ‘pragmatic and efficient’ advice on a range of matters. Adrian Bell and senior associate Lauren Scott advise Social Investment Scotland, and the team handles matters relating to governance reviews and grant funding requirements.

T C Young’s ‘strong knowledge of the housing sector’ makes it a natural choice for housing associations and other charities, including Erskine, who call on the firm to advise on governance and legal structuring issues. Mark Ewing ‘knows Scottish community issues’.

CMS advises charities on issues including private bills, organisational structural changes and dissolutions. Key names include Ann Faulds, who advises major charities on legislative issues, and Graeme Bruce.

Harper Macleod LLP advises charities and housing associations on regulatory, corporate and data protection issues. Practice head James McMorrow is assisting Kiltwalk with a range of issues, including a corporate restructuring.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s charity-related work includes constitutional reviews and trust-related issues. Alexis Graham advised Scottish Cot Death Trust on its transformation into a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

At Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP, Colin Millar, who headed McClure Naismith’s charities team, advises charities and social enterprises on governance and trusts issues. Clients include FareShare Trust.

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Morton Fraser represents clients in cross-border inheritance tax disputes, as well as executors and claimants in domestic inheritance cases, including legal rights claims. Richard McMeeken leads the practice; Graham Scott joined from Murray Beith Murray.

Turcan Connell’s ‘user-friendly’ team acts for executors, family members and charities in will disputes. Peter Littlefield is ‘well known in the charity sector’ and is representing a number of charities in a multi-faceted legacy dispute. Other work includes representing the executors of the estate of newspaper magnate Deirdre Romanes.

Anderson Strathern’s work includes cases involving allegations of fraud, undiscovered family members and care home fee disputes. John Biggar leads the practice.

Brodies LLP’s expertise includes representing executors and beneficiaries in disputes regarding art collections, divisions of interests in family businesses and cohabitation claims. Alan Barr heads the practice.

At Gillespie Macandrew LLP, John McArthur, whose expertise includes legal rights claims, ‘makes sure that the clients feel they are in safe hands’. Agnes Mallon’s work includes cross-border disputes.

Murray Beith Murray has ‘a great deal of experience in dealing with contentious estates’. Work includes cross-border litigation and advice on corporate ownership and executorial misconduct. Carole Hope is ‘very approachable’.

Shepherd and Wedderburn has ‘an excellent knowledge of the issues’. Work includes advising on the appointment of transnational judicial factories, advising on the ejection of executors and on allegedly defective wills. Elaine Brailsford and the ‘excellentAndrew Holehouse are recommended.


Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals

Brodies LLP has ‘great coverage across all court levels’. The practice’s workload ranges from high-value financial provision cases and child law to domestic violence orders. Practice head Shaun George, one of three partners to join the firm from Simpson & Marwick, has ‘an impressively direct, sensitive and honest approach’.

SKO is ‘a go-to firm for any case with an international element’. The practice advises on a range of matters including asset-rich divorces, international child abduction, same-sex couples’ issues and international surrogacy. Key names include Rachael Kelsey and Robert Gilmour, who is involved in leading cohabitation and assisted reproduction cases.

A leading presence in high-value cases’, Turcan Connell acts on matters involving child relocation, pre-nuptial agreements and high-value divorces, often with international elements. Gillian Crandles and the ‘reassuring, confident and very personableAlasdair Loudon are recommended.

BTO Solicitors LLP has ‘a strong grounding in the various forms of ADR’. Key figures include Cath Karlin (who ‘builds a great rapport with her clients’), Lesley Gordon (who is ‘heavily committed to collaborative law’) and child law specialist Marjory Blair, who is ‘razor sharp in catching the details’.

At Balfour+Manson LLP practice head Shona Smith is ‘good at finding pragmatic solutions’ in international financial provision cases. Associate Karen Gibbons, who advises on Hague Convention matters, is ‘patient, kind and adept at listening’.

Morton Fraser’s ‘exceptional’ practice is headed by the ‘abundantly capable’ Rhona Adams and includes newly promoted partner Lucia Clark. In addition to cross-border financial provision matters, it also handles child law work.

Aberdein Considine’s family law work includes financial provision matters with business assets and child contact issues. Ruth Aberdein is ‘professional and confident’; ‘her knowledge and understanding is of great comfort in collaborative cases’.

Anderson Strathernbrings a level of professionalism and diligence that is hard to replicate elsewhere’. Work includes cohabitation agreements, and divorces with multinational assets. Janice Jones heads the practice following her arrival from Harper Macleod LLP.

BLM’s ‘compassionate, caring and strategically astute’ family practice advises on child law, domestic violence cases, asset-rich divorces and cohabitation claims. Siobhan Kelly is ‘a straight-talker’ and Caroline Gillespie is ‘very understanding’.

A major player in Tayside’, Blackadders LLP is ‘distinguished by its willingness to tackle unusual cases’, often involving multimillion-pound companies, allegations of concealed assets and cross-border issues. Craig Samson is ‘a solid participant in collaborative law’.

Digby Brown LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service’ that extends to pre-nuptial agreements and financial provision cases with unusual assets and business interests.The ‘compassionate and dedicated’ Roger Mackenzie joined from Turcan Connell and leads the practice, which includes Sue Grant, who is rated for adoption matters.

Family Law Matters Scotland LLPdeals with difficult legal matters quickly’. The practice handles cross-border divorces, international child abduction cases, higher courts appeals and cross-border surrogacy. Karen Gailey is recommended. Jenny Smith is now at Harper Macleod LLP.

HBJ Gateleyapproaches matters with the right technical knowledge and practical know-how’. Philippa Cunniff (whose ‘outstanding expertise is matched by her humanity’) regularly acts in financial provision disputes with international and business aspects.

Harper Macleod LLP’s work includes high-asset financial claims, cross-border child disputes and pre-nuptial agreements. Key figures include Alan Susskind, who is ‘a key player in the collaborative arena’; child law expert Amanda Masson; and Jenny Smith, who joined from Family Law Matters Scotland LLP.

Lindsays’ team now includes Duncan Mackinnon and Lesley Macdonald, who joined when the firm merged with RSB Macdonald. Work includes child law, high-value financial provision cases and divorces with agricultural assets. Alison McKee leads the practice.

MTM Family Law’s ‘efficient and empathetic’ team represents clients in financial provision cases and child protection matters. Shona Templeton is recommended for collaborative cases, and Carolyn MacBride is ‘a pillar of strength to clients’.

MacRoberts LLP’s family law work includes child contact actions and seven-figure ancillary relief matters. Jackie Stroud ‘demonstrates empathy and sensitivity’.

Patience and Buchan’s ‘organised, focused and reliable’ practice is noted for its strong matrimonial workload, often led by Iain Patience. Also recommended are Lorna Buchan, who has ‘excellent knowledge of child protection’, and newly promoted partner Ashley Simpson.

Shoosmiths is regularly involved in matters with international elements. Marika Franceschi is ‘highly experienced in high-net-worth financial provision, and doesn’t lose sight of the emotional aspects’.

At T C Young, Grant Knight, who heads up the Edinburgh practice, is ‘knowledgeable on multi-jurisdictional matters’, and Glasgow practice head Lynne Collingham’s expertise includes domestic violence matters.

Thorntons Law LLP’s ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ family law team advises on the full gamut of family law issues. Practice head Stephen Brand ‘helps clients get a fair outcome’, while Sandra Sutherland is ‘exceptional in her court-craft’.

Personal tax, trusts and executries

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and executries
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Turcan Connell is widely acknowledged as ‘a market leader with real strength-in-depth’. Alexander Garden heads the practice, which regularly acts for clients regarding eight-figure estates with a range of assets. Tom Duguid has ‘excellent client-handling skills’ and managing partner Ian Clark is ‘measured, professional and hugely experienced’. Douglas Connell is now a consultant.

Anderson Strathern is noted for its ‘high degree of organisation’ when overseeing large-scale estates. Areas of work include advice on heritage property, personal injury trusts and family offices. Anne Henderson ‘connects well with clients and understands their situations very quickly’. Also recommended are John Biggar and the ‘approachable and thoughtfulColin Henderson, who jointly lead the practice.

Brodies LLP provides ‘excellent’ advice on issues involving complex family structures and international and agricultural assets. The practice also acts for well-known private banks and asset managers. Key figures include Alan Eccles, Mark Stewart and Norman Kennedy.

Shepherd and Wedderburn advises high-net-worth clients on cross-border succession planning, often with business and blended family aspects. Key individuals include Malcolm Rust, who is ‘responsive and excellent at interrogating a situation and the documentation’, and Chris McGill.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP is particularly singled out for tax matters, in addition to handling powers of attorney, cross-border estates and agricultural property issues. John McArthur, a chairman of STEP Scotland, is noted for his ‘up-to-date knowledge of tax law’. Practice leader Elspeth Paget is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly.

HBJ Gateley’s ‘invariably professional and helpful’ practice advises on estate planning matters, often involving eight-figure sums. Recommended individuals include ‘responsive and engaged’ practice head Sarah McKinlay and the ‘courteous and efficient’ Douglas Hunter.

Lindsays’ private client expertise encompasses succession planning, executries and powers of attorney. Dorothy Kellas is ‘a calming influence’ with ‘a wealth of experience’ and is recommended alongside practice head David Reith and Grant Johnson, who joined from Thorntons Law LLP.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP advises on trust regularisation, estates with intellectual property issues, personal injury trusts and family business succession planning. Andrew Biggart heads the practice, which includes Eleanor Kerr and Alexis Graham.

MacRoberts LLP’s ‘attentive and proactive’ team is noted for its ‘excellent service for personal injury trust work’, as well as advising on succession planning and negotiating with HMRC regarding property reliefs. Practice head Carole McAlpine-Scott is ‘exceptionally good with clients’.

Morton Frasergoes above and beyond for clients’ across a wide range of issues concerning transnational estates, inheritance tax and succession planning. Carryl Beveridge and Sue Hunter are ‘committed to making their clients feel valued’.

Balfour+Manson LLP’s team of ‘consummate professionals’ advises on inheritance tax management, capacity issues and personal injury trusts. The ‘approachable and caringShona Brown recommended alongside practice head Robin Hill.

Harper Macleod LLP advises on planning cross-border wealth, large business assets and agricultural property. Pamela Niven now leads the practice, which includes Richard Murray, who joined the firm from Shoosmiths.

Murray Beith Murray handles personal trust management, IHT and CGT planning issues, often related to rural property. Peter Shand heads the practice, which includes Hugh Younger, who is ‘an excellent communicator’.

Pagan Osborne Limited handles cross-border estate planning and capacity issues for clients including those from the Asia Pacific region. Tessa Till advises on matters including powers of attorney. Audrey Dishington leads the practice.

Stronachs LLP has advised on planning and succession matters for eight-figure estates with agricultural and business property relief elements. Practice head Gregor Mitchell is ‘very good with complex trusts’.

Thorntons Law LLP advises clients, including high-net-worth individuals and executors, on various inheritance tax matters. Malcolm Farquhar heads the practice, which includes elderly client specialist Murray Etherington.

BTO Solicitors LLPresponds quickly with practical advice’. Recommended individuals include the ‘experienced, compassionate and efficientNeil Headrick, and Roddy Harrison, who advises on a range of inheritance tax matters.

Blackadders LLP’s work includes estate planning, inheritance tax and capacity matters. Johnston Clark heads the practice, which includes Scott Williamson and incapacity specialist Laura McDowall.

Shoosmiths’ ‘highly professional’ team advises clients on a range of estate planning matters. Charlotte Dunn heads the practice, which includes associate Sara Smith, who ‘deals with clients openly and honestly’. Richard Murray and Steven McDonald left the firm to join Harper Macleod LLP and MOV8 Real Estate Estate Agents and Solicitors, respectively.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP’s ‘very strong’ private client and family office group is a source of ‘good, practical and cost-effective’ advice on a range of wealth planning matters. Ian Macdonald ‘has the expertise to provide relevant and practical advice’.

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

In partnership with...

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to