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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 > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Burness Paull LLP is particularly noted for its expertise advising development trusts and social enterprises on regulatory and corporate structures, including partnership models. Highly regarded team head Stephen Phillips advised Falkirk Council on a governance review pertaining to its current offshoot trust Falkirk Community Trust, and led advice to West Lothian Council on the restructuring of an existing offshoot trust. The team, which regularly works in conjunction with colleagues in the property, employment and IP departments, has particular expertise in matters where these elements intersect; in an illustration of this capability, the team assisted Kilmahew/St Peter’s with the restoration and development of the former St Peter’s Seminary to form a £7.5m arts and community venue. The team also developed a constitution for Hub Community Foundation, which is intended to maximise the impact of training and employment initiatives run by the newly established charity. Other clients include the Development Trusts Association Scotland and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

Turcan Connell draws on a wealth of experience in advising grant-making trusts, national collection institutions, independent schools and charities working in the arts and culture sectors. The team is noted for its specialism in assisting philanthropists with their charitable giving activities, and also handles the management and regulation of charities, trusts and endowment funds. Practice head Gavin McEwan advised the Royal Scottish Academy on the reorganisation of historic endowment and benevolent funds in order to free up moribund funds for more effective use. He also advised on contracts to be put in place for a major new charitable foundation being created within the financial services sector in Scotland. Highly regarded chairman of the firm Simon Mackintosh advised the Shetland Charitable Trust on constitutional reforms. Other recent highlights include advising the Green Purposes Company on the creation of a single purpose company for a potential future conversion to a charity as part of the privatisation of the Green Investment Bank, and assisting the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh with the management of its land and estate alongside constitutional matters.

Offering a very good all-round, customer-focused service’, Brodies LLP assists its clients with a wide range of corporate, regulatory and governance issues, among others. Brenda Scottprovides reliable and practical advice’ and assisted the University of Edinburgh with a number of governance matters and with issues arising from its dealings with educational trusts. The ‘hugely competent and experiencedAlan Eccles, who ‘gets straight to the nub of the issue’, advised the Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre on the establishment of two separate charitable incorporated organisations. He also assisted the Trades House of Glasgow – one of the city’s oldest charities – with its potential restructuring, the establishment of a new multimillion-pound fund and the transfer of a different charity into the existing not-for-profit organisation. In another highlight, the team advised media company STV on the establishment of charities and the wider legal structure to support the creation of the Scottish Children’s Lottery. Paul McMahon is also recommended.

Lindsays has a ‘strong’ team that attracts praise for its ‘wide knowledge of local authority affairs’. The team provides ‘reliable advice’ on governance and charity registration and establishment issues. ‘Impressive, professional and approachable’ team head Alastair Keatinge is highly recommended and consistently praised for his ‘practical advice’ and ‘extensive knowledge of the sector’. He advised a long-term client and operator of a concert hall and theatre in Perth on alternative governance structures as well as procurement and lease documentation issues. Keatinge is also assisting the Border Union Agricultural Society with the implementation of new governance arrangements and the recruitment of a new board. In another significant matter, he acted for the BrewGooder Foundation – a partnership between two entrepreneurs and an independent craft brewer – in obtaining charitable status. The team’s client roster also includes Citizens Advice Scotland and An Comhdhail.

Shepherd and Wedderburn is ‘very professional’ and particularly active in advising its clients – often educational, sports and arts charities – on governance and corporate matters. The ‘very knowledgeable and supportiveMalcolm Rust, who co-heads the team with Christopher McGill, advised the trustees of a charity on governance issues. As another highlight, the team assisted a charity with an acquisition, which included the preparation of the funding documentation. Among the clients are Foundation Scotland, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Woodland Trust.

Anderson Strathern provides charity sector clients with a wide range of advice, frequently pertaining to corporate, governance, data protection and tax matters. In a notable mandate, the team advised Live Borders – formerly Boders Sport and Leisure Trust – on all aspects of its proposed takeover of cultural services, including museums, libraries, art galleries, archives and community centres, from the Scottish Borders Council. Senior associate and team head Victoria Simpson assisted a client with OSCR investigation issues. Other clients include the National Trust for Scotland, the University of Stirling, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

BTO Solicitors LLPprovides clear and concise advice’ on charity regulation and OSCR requirements, including the transition from non-charitable to charitable status and governance matters. ‘Knowledgeable and professional’ associate and ‘excellent communicatorMarion Davis advised the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) on OSCR requirements following its transition from an unincorporated association to an incorporated company structure, and subsequently assisted the client with obtaining OSCR consent to change its legal form. The practice also regularly assists charitable registered social landlords with regulatory and governance issues. Team head Patrice Fabien assisted Richmond Fellowship Scotland (TRFS) in its role as a private landlord with regulatory issues applicable to private residential tenancies. Other clients include the Scottish Cremation Society, CLIC Sargent and McSence.

The ‘very helpful, personable and knowledgeable’ team at Balfour+Manson LLPgives pragmatic advice based on client needs’, which often pertain to contentious and non-contentious corporate, governance, employment and property issues. As well as the team’s extensive expertise in dealing with faith-based organisation, it also acts for a number of healthcare, environmental and community-based charities. Bethany Christian Trust, the Faith Mission, Health in Mind and Scripture Union are among the firm’s longstanding clients, while Scottish War Blinded is a new client win. Hugh Angus heads the team, which includes ‘prompt and friendly’ associate Alan Gilfillan. Former practice head John Hodge is now a consultant.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, responsive and efficient’ team stands out for its military sector expertise, advising a number of Scottish military charities on a wide range of issues. Other areas of expertise include advising land-owning charities, religious bodies and medical charities on governance and best practice matters alongside obligations of charity trustees. The practice continues to advise the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust on the establishment of a $15m social impact fund to be used in granting loans oversees to organisations furthering the client’s charitable purposes. A UK-wide medical education charity instructed the team to advise on Scottish and English charity law matters. Associate Lianne Lodge now heads the team, which includes former practice head and consultant Tom Murray.

MacRoberts LLPprovides quick advice’ and ‘has a very good technical knowledge of charity and data protection issues’. Advising charitable trusts and sociable enterprises on tax, corporate, contractual, regulatory and governance issues are other key elements of the practice. ‘Knowledgeable’ team head Val Surgenor, who ‘has a unique insight into the sector and explains matters in an understandable way’, advised the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations on its funding platform – a site set up to assist charities source appropriate funding and provide advice on funding arrangements. She also advised Trust in Fife as lead agent in a public social partnership, involving Fife Council and 13 providers of housing support services, on a collaborative contracting structure. Ready for Business is another client. Senior associate Robin Fallas is ‘approachable, obliging and knowledgeable’.

Morton Fraser’s client base includes charities and not-for-profit organisations from the educational, cultural, health care and environmental sectors. Adrian Bell advised several trustees on constitutional matters and advised a trust on governance arrangements. Iain Meiklejohn assisted a charity with environmental liability issues. Social Investment Scotland, the Schuh Trust and Scotland’s Rural College are also clients. ‘Knowledgeable’ senior associate Lauren Scott is also recommended.

CMS is praised for its ‘attention to detail’ and ‘understanding and knowledge of third sector organisations’. The team is well versed in handling regulatory, corporate, funding, construction and IP issues on behalf of educational, cultural and research establishments. The team advised the National Museum of Scotland on a number of IP-related matters, including agreements on loaning and touring of its collections. Other clients include Newlands Junior College and National Galleries of Scotland. Key contact Graeme Bruceprovides practical solutions to difficult problems’, and Chris Rae demonstrates ‘great clarity of thought and expression’.

Harper Macleod LLP is experienced in assisting small community-based organisations and registered social landlords with a wide range of matters such as charity incorporation, compliance with the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, corporate governance, commercial contracts and grant funding. James McMorrow acted for The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations on charity law compliance, charitable structures and commercial contracts, while the Cairn Housing Association instructed him to assist with regulatory, funder and charity law issues pertaining to its establishment of a constitutional partnership with ANCHO. In another highlight, he advised the trustees of the Kilravock Christian Trust on the proposal to wind up the trust and transfer its assets to Scripture Union Scotland and Scripture Union Northern Ireland. The team advised Shetland Charitable Trust on commercial and regulatory matters, and the Scottish Surfing Federation on its restructuring from a charitable unincorporated association to a charitable company limited by guarantee. Glasgow Life is another client.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLPhas extensive knowledge in dealing with a charitable trust client base’ and is praised for its ‘attention to detail’. The team is well versed in advising on amendments of existing constitutions including conversions and dissolutions, reorganisations, mergers and governance issues affecting charities and charity trustees. Clients also include philanthropists, who regularly call on the team’s expertise establishing charities through a will or lifetime planning. Alexis Graham heads the team and attracts praise for its ‘efficient and personal service’. Eleanor Kerr is also recommended.

Clients single out T C Young for its ‘good attention to detail’ and substantial expertise in the social housing sector. Clients frequently instruct the ‘reliable’ team, which is ‘easy to work with’ and consists of ‘good communicators’, to advise on changes to legal and governance structures, limited liability status issues and on issues arising from entering into mergers, joint ventures and other strategic partnerships. ‘Approachable and knowledgeable’ practice head Mark Ewing assisted a number of clients (including the Arran Cancer Support Trust, Glen Kin Outdoor Centre and Money Advice Scotland) with their governance and constitution reviews. He also advised a client on the establishment of a charity to develop and operate a water sports facility as part of Glasgow’s canal network. Other recent highlights include advising Erskine Hospital on changes to its board reporting structure and succession planning issues, and assisting Tiree Community Development Trust with the transfer of community assets.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP acts for a wide range of charities and third sector organisations, including national and smaller grant-giving charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations such as trade associations. The team, which is led by Colin Millar, also assists philanthropic individuals and families with the establishment and running of charitable foundations. Recent highlights include assisting Haven Products with contractual and governance matters, and advising Momentum Scotland on contractual arrangements with the Scottish government. Scottish Women’s Institutes regularly instructs the team to handle regulatory matters. Graham Murray acted for the Theosophical Society of Scotland in setting up a charitable arm through which to develop a new public library facility. In 2016, the team guided the Glasgow Hutchesons’ Aloysians Sports Club through the process of applying for charitable status.

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